PNP to intensify drug war vs middle-level, high-value targets in 2020
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed on Monday to intensify the drug war against middle-level and high-value targets for 2020.
PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa said this will be among the topics to be discussed in a command conference on Tuesday with members of the command group, directorial staff, regional directors, and directors of national support units to discuss strategic policy directions of the PNP for this year.
“This (command conference) will set into motion the flagship campaigns of the PNP against crime, illegal drugs, terrorism, and corruption for the next 12 months and beyond,” he said in a press briefing.
“Foremost among these is the intensification of the intelligence-driven anti-illegal drugs campaign particularly against upper and middle-level high value targets engaged in trafficking of commercial quantity of illegal drugs (weighing) 50 grams or more,” he added.
Asked how many high-value targets are still being monitored by the police, Gamboa said: “Marami pa sila (They are still many).”
He did not give a specific number, but he revealed he ordered regional directors to submit the names of top 10 to top 20 drug suspects in their jurisdictions so that they can identify whom to prioritize in anti-drug stings.
Nevertheless, operations against street-level pushers will continue to be launched by local drug enforcement units, as the PNP Drug Enforcement Group targets to collar big fishes.
According to Gamboa, the drug trade is still prevalent in Metro Manila, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
Critics of the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs have since decried the deaths of street-level pushers and slammed the government for its supposed lack of operations against drug lords. Citing large drug hauls, both the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have denied the critics’ accusations.
Since July 2016 until November 30, 2019, a total of 8,185 high-value targets were arrested by the PNP and PDEA. 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.
A total of 5,552 drug suspects have been killed for allegedly resisting arrest, but human rights groups claim the figures could be significantly higher.
Meanwhile, Gamboa said another operational thrust “of equal priority” for the PNP in 2020 is the crackdown against police scalawags. He added intelligence-driven operations will be conducted against police officers involved in crime and corruption.
He also said there will be “equal attention” to the responsibility of the rogue police officers’ immediate superiors who fail to take appropriate action on the crooked activities of their subordinates.
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