6,600 killed in war vs drugs from July 2016 to May 2019 — PNP
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 6,600 persons linked to the illegal drug trade have been killed since the start of the government’s war against drugs, data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) revealed Tuesday.
The data, which covers incidents from July 1, 2016 — a day after President Rodrigo Duterte took his oath as Chief Executive — until May 2019, was presented during a command conference of top police officials at Camp Crame. The presentation of the data was made a little over a month before the President delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22.
For the same period, anti-drug operatives arrested 240,565 drug personalities in 153,276 police operations nationwide with 1,283,409 surrendering.
Meanwhile, a total of 822 drug personalities were killed since January until May this year. Also arrested were 38,937 suspects in a total of 25,338 anti-drug operations conducted.
During the same period, 2,865 were subjected to “Oplan Tokhang,” the PNP’s centerpiece strategy in the war on drugs, while 2,755 surrendered to police.
CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Police (Police Regional Office-4A) had the most “Oplan Tokhang” accomplishments for May, with 502 tokhang activities conducted and 281 drug personalities surrendering.
Speaking at a press briefing, PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said the figures, which have not been released in the government’s “Real Numbers PH,” are not yet official and have yet to be cross-checked with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other affiliated agencies for the consolidation of consistent figures.
Banac said the PNP still pegs the “official” death toll in police operations against illegal drugs at 5,375 as of March 2019.
However, Banac said the death toll is “definitely small” compared to arrests made by the police. He said operations that led to the death of the suspects are still being investigated.
“Hindi naman ibig sabihin na may namatay ay pababayaan na lang natin. Hangga’t maaari ay wala pong masawi sa ating anti-drug operations,” said Banac.
(It does not mean that just because they died in police operations, we will not investigate it. As much as possible, no one should die in our anti-drug operations.)
Banac said 49 police officers have died while 144 others were injured in the conduct of police operations against illegal drugs.
Half of villages yet to be cleared
As of April, or three months before Duterte marks his third year as Chief Executive, the PNP said 12,177 barangays (villages) in the country are drug-free. The PNP said this is only 29 percent of the total 42,045 villages in the country.
This means the government still has to clear the remaining 48.69 percent or 20,471 villages of illegal drugs. The PNP said 9,397 villages have not been affected by the drug trade even at the start of the President’s term.
The PNP said 282 villages were “seriously affected by drugs,” with 10,835 being “moderately affected,” and 9,354 being “slightly affected.”
Banac is confident that the PNP can rid the country of illegal drugs by the end of Duterte’s term in 2022.
“Ito ay kaya nating gawin sa remaining na three years ng ating Pangulo, sa pakikipagtulungan na rin ng lahat ng sektor ng ating lipunan,” he said.
(We can do this for the remaining three years of the President, with the help of all sectors of society.)
Metro Manila most affected
Despite the series of successful buy-bust operations, Metro Manila remains the region most affected by drugs, with illegal drugs present in 1,515 villages or in 88.60 percent of the 1,710 villages of the metropolis.
Of this number, 208 villages are “seriously affected” by drugs, 878 are “moderately affected,” and 429 are “slightly affected.”
In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, National Capital Region Police Office director, confirmed the data but noted that villages in Metro Manila are more highly-urbanized and populated, making it harder to be cleared of drugs as compared to other regions.
While a lot of villages in Metro Manila remain under the influence of drugs, Eleazar said “all of them have improved” due to continuous government intervention.
Following Metro Manila in terms of regions with the most villages affected by drugs are Central Visayas (2,293 or 76.36 percent of 3,003 villages); Central Luzon (2,342 or 75.50 percent of 3,102 villages); and Bicol Region (2,530 or 72.89 percent of 3,471 villages).
Meanwhile, Banac said the PNP is urging local government units, communities, and families to participate in the war against drugs at the grassroots level. This he said, will be in support of police operations. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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