A TOTAL of 5,601 drug peddlers and users have been killed in anti-narcotics operations since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016 up to January 31 this year, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
The number of fatalities is 425 higher than the 5,176 suspects who perished as of January 31 last year.
PDEA said a total of 157,275 operations were conducted throughout the country, up from 119,841 a year ago.
It said 228,678 were arrested, an increase of more than 50,000 from last year’s mark of 170,689. Of the number, 8,811 were high-value targets, including 306 elected officials, 86 uniformed personnel, and 225 foreigners.
The agency said P42.13 billion worth of drugs were seized, up from P25.94 billion last year. The seized drugs included 5,428 kilos of shabu, worth P32.92 billion.
Various operations resulted in the dismantling of 508 drug dens, up from 287 last year. The number of dismantled clandestine laboratories remained at 14.
It said a total of 18,284 of the 42,045 drug-affected barangays have been cleared, up from 11,080 last year.
PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon said the increased gains in the war on drugs “shows that we are maintaining the pace of our anti-drug operations, we were able to sustain the intensity of our anti-drug operations.”
Asked if they can clear the remaining 15,748 drug-affected barangays before the end of the Duterte administration in 2020, Carreon said: “That is our commitment.”
Former vice president Jejomar Binay said the PDEA needs to come up with a more plausible explanation rather than a so-called discrepancy in figures to justify the downward revision of the number of persons killed in anti-drug operations. Otherwise, they will be open to allegations of manipulating data to downplay the extent of drug-related killings.
He said the reality is that while the intensity of the killings has subsided, they do occur on a regular basis based on media reports.
Binay added the PDEA, PNP and other government and law enforcement agencies should provide regular updates on the number of cases filed against policemen for their alleged involvement in summary killings of drug suspects and the status of these cases.
This, he said, is to assure the public that the leadership of these government agencies, particularly the PNP, are seriously pursuing the cleansing of their ranks and inculcating respect for the rule of law and human rights within their ranks. – With Noel Talacay