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US senators call for review of $32 million aid to Manila

Three US senators have called on the State Department to review the $32 million assistance package for training and law enforcement in the Philippines, decrying the ongoing deadly campaign of mass atrocities by the Philippine government, The Manila Times Online reported on Thursday.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democrats Edward Markey and Christopher Coons, all members of the US Senate's foreign relations committee, said the legality and appropriateness of the funding should be assessed amid serious allegations of extrajudicial killings that have surfaced in the course of President Duterte's war on drugs.

The senators cited reports that there were at least 2,000 victims of extrajudicial killings and another 3,800 deaths. They noted that the Leahy Law prohibits US assistance or support of any unit of a foreign country's security forces when its members have carried out grow human rights violations.

They said that recipients of US financial assistance must align with US values and ideals, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.

They suggested drug addicts be given access to treatment and a pathway to rehabilitation, not a summary execution where the police or vigilantes act as judge, jury and executioner.

Their letter was directly addressed to Assistant Secretary William Brownfield of the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)