Some 161,584 people were arrested in the more than 100,000 anti-drug operations ordered by President Duterte. But only 8,935 of the country’s 42,044 baragays are drug-free. Some 271 drug dens and laboratories have been shut down.
Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Duterte administration is intensifying its war on drug by all means, include violence.
Between July 2016 to October 2018, 4,999 people were killed in anti-drug operations by government forces, this according to a report by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which operates under the supervision of the Office of the President of the Philippines.
In addition to the death of people connected to the drug trade, the report notes that 161,584 arrests were carried out by security forces during the same period.
The PDEA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) took part in 113,570 anti-drug operations. However, only 8,935 of the 42,044 barangays (districts) across the country can be called drug-free. The report shows that the authorities have yet to clear another 23,161.
According to the PDEA, law enforcement agencies have also dismantled 271 drug dens and illegal drug laboratories.
After his election in July 2016, President Duterte launched an unprecedented war against illegal drugs, promising to kill tens of thousands of criminals.
International organisations and observers estimate that more than 12,000 people have died in the president’s crackdown, many of them victims of summary executions.
The Catholic Church is one the few voices to complain about the deaths. Polls show widespread support for the Filipino president.
In response to criticism of extrajudicial killings, Duterte has repeatedly attacked bishops and priests, using harsh language.
In addition to criticising the killings and violations of human rights, the Church is working on the rehabilitation and reintegration of drug addicts into society.
In October 2016, the Archdiocese of Manila launched Sanlakbay, a programme that was subsequently adopted by other dioceses in the country.
It is based on the involvement of parish communities in providing drug addicts with counselling, spiritual support and even work opportunities.
The work of the Filipino Church against drug addiction has also met with the appreciation and support of Pope Francis.