PNP bares numbers: 4,251 dead in drug war

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
PNP bares numbers: 4,251 dead in drug war
Despite the large number of deaths, arrests and surrenders, the drug menace remains a major problem, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde admitted yesterday.
AP / Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 4,251 people have been killed in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs since President Duterte’s assumption into office in July 2016, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday.

Despite the large number of deaths, arrests and surrenders, the drug menace remains a major problem, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde admitted yesterday.

“We still have a big problem with illegal drugs. As you can see, a large volume of illegal drugs arrived in the country by sea,” Albayalde said in Filipino in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

“Remember, just a few years back, cocaine was recovered at sea, then from container vans, and we don’t know if something came before the 650 kilos recovered in Valenzuela,” he said.

He lamented that gains were usually obscured by side issues arising from disinformation and mislabeling. Compounding the problem, he said, is the campaign’s getting blurred by political and human rights issues.

Major news organizations have put the number of deaths in the drug war at more than 12,000. Authorities have disputed the figure, saying it may have included vigilante killings or those resulting from turf wars.

The PNP chief vowed no letup in the campaign in compliance with President Duterte’s order.

At the press briefing, the PNP – through the #RealNumbersPH – reported a total of 98,799 police operations leading to the death of 4,251 drug personalities and the arrest of 142,069 others from July 1, 2016 to April 30, 2018.

Of those arrested, Albayalde said 504 were government employees, including 217 elected officials.

“To tell you frankly, we really have a big problem with drugs. On the personal note, we’re not yet half the journey,” he said.

But he emphasized there are now fewer pushers and it’s harder to buy drugs in the streets.

“These are indications that we are on the right track in the war on drugs,” he added.

Authorities said that of the over a million self-confessed drug users and pushers, 184,252 have finally graduated from the recovery and wellness program at different rehabilitation centers in the country.

At the same time, 79,099 drug personalities also graduated from the rehabilitation centers being maintained by the PNP, while 105,153 completed their rehabilitation process from community centers.

The PNP also confiscated 2,676 kilos of shabu with street value of P13.81 billion during police operations.

Police filed 49,034 cases in court and 75,336 others were referred to the prosecutor’s office.

As part of internal cleansing, the PNP said 302 police officers were found positive for illegal drugs and 265 removed from the service.

Albayalde said the accomplishments of the PNP in the war on drugs are now being felt in the community.

“No. 1 indication is the effect on the peace and order, we see lower crime volume incident, meaning there is change,” he said.

He said the number of arrests and possible deaths of drug personalities is expected to go up.

“The numbers will go up definitely. We still have big problem with illegal drugs. There were only few barangays which have been cleared as of this time,” he said.

He added that since taking over the top PNP post, he and his men have cleared 40 barangays. He said 94 barangays were affected by the drug menace. He admitted, however, that pushers could always resume their illegal activities if the police let down their guard.

Albayalde said the PNP continues to provide active support to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency by virtue of Presidential Memorandum Order No. 17 that restored the PNP to full operational status in the government’s anti-illegal drug drive effective Dec. 4, 2017.




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