(Eagle News)–The Department of the Interior and Local Government is questioning the United States list that included the Philippines among the countries with the highest risk of kidnapping and hostage taking.
In a statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said kidnapping cases have been on a decline for years because of the “relentless and proactive” stance of the administration.
Based on Philippine National Police (PNP) reported by the DILG, there were only 68 cases of kidnapping in the country in 2018., 11 cases lower than in 2017.
The majority of the cases were in Mindanao.
“A list is just a list. What we have are factual data pointing to the decreasing number of kidnapping cases in the Philippines. That’s what we are banking on,” Año said.
Año added visitors were safer with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Año said they will consult with the US Embassy to find out how the USA came up with its list.
“We do not know yet how they came up with the list but with the strong stance of President Rodrigo Duterte against criminality in general, we see no basis for including us in this list. We will request from the US Embassy what were the parameters used since even Malaysia and Russia were included,” Año said.
Apart from the Philippines, Malaysia and Russia, the US included Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in its list and urged Americans to exercise precaution in going there.