Days before Duterte admin leaves, over 25K barangays cleared, 10K still drug-infested
MANILA, Philippines — With less than two weeks left in the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has reported that there are still 10,112 barangays that have not been cleared from illegal drugs.
The latest data from PDEA’s Real Numbers released on Tuesday — or government data on the war against illegal drugs — show that some 25,361 barangays have been cleared under Duterte’s term, from July 1, 2016 to May 31, 2022.
At least 6,573 were deemed unaffected by the illegal drug trade. This means that 75.95 percent of the country’s 42,046 barangays will be free from the drug trade once Duterte steps down, while 24.05 will still be affected despite his administration’s strong campaign against illegal drugs.
In terms of deaths, a total of 6,252 drug suspects were killed in 239,218 legitimate government operations, while 345,216 individuals were arrested.
Anti-drug operatives also managed to seize P89.79 billion worth of shabu in almost six years — most of which are crystal meth or shabu, equivalent to 11.72 metric tons worth P77.01 billion.
At least 530 kilograms of cocaine, 163,549 pieces of ecstasy tablets, and 10.35 metric tons of dried marijuana leaves were also seized in various operations.
There were also 1,066 people in the government who were arrested in anti-drug operations, including 533 employees, 406 elected officials, and 127 uniformed personnel. All in all, 15,271 high-value targets were arrested.
The drug war has been one of the most criticized policies of the current administration, as opposition groups say that it has been very harsh and bloody. While official data says 6,252 suspects were killed in the drug war, critics say the alleged true number could be well between 11,000 to 30,000.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) recently released a report saying that the drug war encouraged a culture of impunity, adding that disproportionate force was used by the drug war implementers like the Philippine National Police.
According to CHR, perpetrators of alleged rights violators often used the “nanlaban” narrative, where drug war suspects are accused of fighting anti-narcotic operators.
These allegations have led to complaints against past and present PNP officials and President Duterte himself, before the International Criminal Court (ICC), for allegedly committing the crime against humanity of murder.
Last September 2021, the ICC pre-trial chamber authorized the start of the investigation of the drug war, acting upon the request of former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
But in November 2021, ICC granted the Philippine government’s request to stop the investigation of the drug war killings, with the latter claiming that the justice system in the country is fully functional.
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