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PDEA to handle drug war statistics

MANILA, Philippines -  To avoid confusion, the Philippine National Police has turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) the task of releasing the number of persons who surrendered, were killed or arrested in the course of the campaign against illegal drugs.

Chief Superintendent Dennis Siervo, director of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office, said they had to make the move because conflicting figures or statistics related to the drug war resulted in confusion and outrage even in the international community.

“We will be speaking with one voice,” Siervo said over the weekend.

But Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, PNP deputy chief for administration, said the PNP would continue to address the problem on illegal drugs.

PDEA chief Isidro Lapeña said the illegal drug problem is considered a national security threat and it could not be ignored, being a P20-billion industry based on estimates.

From July 2016 to March of this year, the PNP had said a total of 9,432 people were reported killed but most were labeled as homicide cases.

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However, during the #RealNumbersPH forum initiated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) early this month, the PNP reported that a total of 5,691 people were killed and now labeled as deaths under inquiry (DUIs) during the first eight months of the Duterte administration.

It said only 1,847 incidents or 19 percent were related to the anti-illegal drug campaign of the police force. The PNP has been attributing other drug-related deaths to vigilante killings.

The PNP said 1,894 cases were also not related to illegal drugs.

Siervo explained allowing PDEA to take over the job of releasing official figures with regard to the illegal drug campaign was covered under Executive Order 15, which also created the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“Under (the) executive order, PDEA now is the lead agency. During a meeting, some officials raised the issue, ‘How come the figures (related to) the anti-illegal drug campaign are not the same?’” Siervo said.

Director Camilo Cascolan, chief of PNP Directorate for Operations, said the PNP is investigating all the incidents, including cases considered as DUIs.

Director Augusto Marquez, chief of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), said crime incidents were reported to the national headquarters through the internet.

“We have significant achievements on reporting system. We can get reports in two or three days. Unlike in the past, spot reports were submitted to us three months after the incidents,” he noted.

Marquez said the crime rate significantly dropped by 28.58 percent as the PNP recorded a total of 96,398 crime incidents from July 2016 to March 2017 compared to 134,958 cases during the same period in the preceding years.

“These (are) the real numbers,” Marquez said as he presented the PNP accomplishments during the forum participated in by officials from the PNP, PDEA, PCOO, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

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