PDEA: 5,552 killed in drug war since 2016
In the three years since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs, more than 5,500 were killed and over 200,000 were arrested, according to data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The PDEA, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies conducted 151,601 antidrug operations from July 1, 2016, to Nov. 30, 2019, said PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon.
These resulted in the killing of 5,552 “drug personalities” and the arrest of 220,728, Carreon said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
Uniformed personnelA total of 8,185 high-value targets were nabbed. These include 222 foreign nationals, 297 elected officials, 82 uniformed personnel, 347 government employees, 725 drug group leaders or members, 57 armed group members, 813 drug den maintenance staff, 191 wanted listed personalities, and 10 celebrities or prominent personalities, said PNP spokesperson Bernard Banac.
Some 2,799 minors were also rescued and turned over to local social welfare offices.
Banac said 485,295 surrendered drug users benefited from the recovery and wellness program of the PNP and other community reformation centers.
The PDEA also seized P40.39 billion worth of illegal drugs, including P31.25 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth), and dismantled 419 drug dens nationwide in the past three years.The Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad) also cleared 16,706 barangays of drugs and are working on clearing another 17,175.
Other groups, however, estimate that a higher number of individuals had been killed in the war on drugs.
The Drug Archive, the academe-led database prepared by Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines, put the number of slain drug suspects at 7,000, as of April 2019.
Rights groups have put the death toll at more than 20,000, including the deaths under investigation that the police excluded from the count.
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino asked government agencies involved in the drug war to implement the recommendations that Vice President Leni Robredo had given while she was Icad cochair.
Aquino said he was open to more recommendations from Robredo, but admitted that he felt “uncomfortable” with her as his cochair, because of their unequal status.
“It’s hard for me to dictate because she’s the Vice President and I’m only an undersecretary,” he said.
He cited instances when he could not give orders to Robredo when she started meeting with foreign groups.
“But I think her recommendations were good,” Aquino said. “If (they’re) beneficial to the Icad, why not? Let’s follow her recommendation,” Aquino said.
These include establishing baseline data on drug users and pushers, and determining how many have relapsed or have been rehabilitated.
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