Over 5,000 dead in the war against illegal drugs: gov't
The government has conducted around 123,441 anti-drug operations since the start of the Duterte administration in 2016 that resulted to in the death of 5,281 drug personalities.
In a press briefing, Police Lieutenant Colonel Kimberly Molitas, deputy Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson, said of the total operations, 176, 021 were arrested, 638 were government workers while 2, 098 children involved were rescued.
As of February 28, total amount of seized shabu were P21.41 billion while P29.29 billion were other illegal drugs and laboratory equipment.
Authorities were able to dismantle 295 dens and 14 clandestine laboratories.
Due to the large volume of confiscated illegal drugs, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said they cannot blame President Rodrigo Duterte if his perception of illegal drugs in the country is “worsening”.
“You cannot help but think that shipments getting bigger but what’s important is our confiscation is getting bigger too. Meaning, it’s successful because it’s the main priority of the government,” said PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon.
“This is why our problem in illegal drugs calls for a whole government and whole nation approach,” he added.
He said the number of cleared barangays showed they are winning the war on illegal drugs.
Based on their records, out of the 42, 045 barangays in the whole country, 11, 437 are cleared.
Carreon added they are aiming for zero-affected barangays in illegal drugs before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down.
Presidential Communication and Operations Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Rafael said they are far from saying the government is successful but “at least today they can say the law enforcement are doing their job”.
“Our data showed that the government is serious (in campaign against illegal drugs),” Rafael said.
On the part of PNP, Molitas said from 2016 the crime rate in the country has gone down and it has been the trend which can be a proof they are winning the war against illegal drugs
Molitas said it is not only the Philippines who has this problem.
“The problem is still there, yes it is but we have to remember that war on drugs is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s not a problem that is contained in this country. It’s a problem being addressed by other countries, our Asean countries and other countries across the world,” she said.
On the involvement of Chinese nationals in illegal drugs, Molitas said it’s not only during the Duterte administration that a lot of them are involved.
“Since the drug campaign over the past governments, this was already the same issue with China. So this is not about the new government having relationship with China. The drug menace has always been there. You have to remember that the drug trade is a trade and for these people it’s business,” she said.
“This is just about an established business that they found profitable here in our country and also (Philippines) is a transshipment country. So it is not necessary that it’s just for the Philippines. It goes to the other country’s as well,” she added.
Carreon said it’s nothing new that the majority of those operating shabu laboratories in the Philippines and even those behind the bulks smuggling are Chinese nationals.
Carreon said in terms of the Mexican drug trafficking organization, they cannot operate and distribute their product without the help of Chinese drug trafficking organizations since they have the network.
“That’s the way it is. They dominate the Philippine drug scenario quite a while especially after the introduction of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu somewhere in the mid-1980s,” said Carreon.
Just this month, law enforcers were able to confiscate around P1.13 billion worth of 166 kilos of shabu and arrested three Chinese suspects in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
PDEA said the confiscated illegal drugs came from the Golden Triangle drug syndicate.
PDEA is investigating if there is any link to the P1.9 billion worth of shabu the anti-drug agency seized in Tanza and Dasmarinas, Cavite last month. Ella Dionisio/DMS