5,000 killed and 170,000 arrested in war on drugs: police

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2019 04:11 PM

MANILA- The number of drug suspects killed in the government's war on drugs has breached the 5,000-mark, authorities reported Thursday.

A total of 5,176 drug personalities have died in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 until Jan. 31 this year, according to a "Real Numbers" update by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Meanwhile, 170,689 others have been arrested during the same period in 119, 841 anti-drug operations.

Among those arrested were 295 government employees, 263 elected officials, and 69 uniformed personnel.

Authorities also noted that a total of 301 drug dens and laboratories have been dismantled.

Police also reported that 11,080 barangays have been declared "cleared" of illicit drugs out of more than 40,000. A total of 21,974 other barangays have yet to be cleared of narcotics.

The amount of illegal drugs and drug-related materials seized by authorities has reached P25.94 billion, authorities said.

PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Bernard Banac said the government's anti-narcotics campaign would be "more intense" but with "utmost respect for human rights and the value of human life."

"That's what we are after right now to go after these big-time drug lords and suppliers of illegal drugs," he said during a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

President Rodrigo Duterte's administration has pursued a fierce campaign against illegal drugs, mostly netting traders and users of shabu. 

Last year, Duterte expressed frustration at the difficulty of realizing his 2016 campaign promise of ridding the country of the illegal drug scourge.