By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

COMMITMENT. Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. delivers his remarks at the opening of the 33rd Session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria on Monday (May 13, 2024). He said the Philippines is committed to crime prevention strategies to foster peace, harmony, and a rules-based order through international cooperation. (Photo courtesy of DILG)

MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the Philippines remains committed to peace and international order as it seeks to be elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Abalos made the remark at the opening of the 33rd Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ33) in Vienna, Austria on Monday, the DILG said in a news release on Tuesday.

“Once elected (at the UNSC), we will serve our duty with a deep dedication to a peaceful, just and equitable international order, that is key to the flourishing of each of our nation’s aspirations for our peoples,” said Abalos, who serves as the head of the Philippine delegation to the gathering.

The Philippines was previously elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC in 1957, 1963, 1980-1981, and 2004-2005.

Abalos said Manila is committed to crime prevention strategies to foster peace, harmony, and a rules-based order through international cooperation.

He said the Philippine government under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has implemented various measures to combat crimes, such as the supply reduction efforts in the country’s war against drugs.

He said approximately USD587 million worth of illegal drugs were seized in the administration’s first two years, which was “a 700 percent increase from previous years and with minimal loss of life.”

He also highlighted the holistic crime prevention approaches rooted in community engagement under the Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) program of the national government that led to a significant decrease in drug-related cases.

Reforms in the country’s criminal justice processes, such as the empowerment of prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies to take an active role in investigations and the build-up of cases before they are brought before the courts, he said.

Abalos also expressed the Philippine government’s commitment to multilateralism as it bids for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for 2027-2028.

He assured the country’s full commitment to the battle against terrorism, extremism, trafficking in persons, among others

“We believe that a united global front is essential to effectively combat transnational crimes, corruption, and terrorism in all forms and manifestations,” he said.

Established by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1992, the CCPCJ is the UN’s principal policy making body in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. (PNA)