Philippine drug war nets 1 million people

The Philippine National Police say a total of 1.049 million people have surrendered, been arrested or killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs.

PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa said in a press briefing on Tuesday that since Duterte took office in July the police have accomplished 70 per cent of its target in the war against drugs.

Dela Rosa said there were 1.8 million drug users and pushers based on the 2010 data by the Dangerous Drugs Board, but Duterte has said there could be as many as 3 to 4 million drug suspects in the Philippines.

“The PNP is on a continuous campaign against criminal gangs and personalities … with more focus on the arrest and (bringing to) account of High Value Target personalities involved in illegal drugs,” dela Rosa said. Some of the drug suspects include military generals and politicians.

He said that based on the latest data, 983,232 suspected pushers and users surrendered to the police and 42,543 were arrested from July to December 27 this year.

A total of 2157 were killed during police operations, the police said.

There were in addition 3000 victims of extrajudicial killings, he said, stating that they may have been killed by the drug syndicates themselves or by vigilante groups, and some of the deaths may not have been drug-related.

Duterte gained support from the public when during the election campaign he promised to suppress drugs and defeat crime in six months.

He said most of the drug addicts sell drugs to sustain their habit and many of them are involved in other crimes.

The Philippine president however has been criticised by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations for the alleged extrajudicial killings.

Dela Rosa said the police successes so far have been accomplished within the original six-month deadline set by the president.

Duterte has moved to introduce a six-month extension because of the extent of the drug problem.

Meanwhile, Philippines authorities have seized more than 890 kilograms of methamphetamine in a series of raids this month in what Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has described as “the biggest drug bust” in the country’s history.

Aguirres in a press conference estimated the methamphetamine haul as having a street value of around 6 billion pesos ($A167 million).

Ten people, members of a group called “Red Dragon”, were arrested during three raids conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and include three Chinese nationals and seven Filipinos.


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