MANILA - The Philippine National Police maintained Friday that the war on drugs has become less bloody despite averaging six dead daily in the past two years of President Duterte's anti-narcotics campaign.
At least 4,814 deaths have been recorded in police anti-drug operations in the past 2 years, PNP Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Bong Durana said. This translates to an average of 6 people killed every day since the start of the war on drugs on July 1, 2016.
Durana, however, said records would show that weekly deaths from anti-drug police operations have dwindled as the PNP “polished” its anti-narcotics campaign.
He said from July 1, 2016 to October 25, 2016, there were 1,798 deaths during police anti-drug operations, or 105 deaths per week.
This went down to 61 deaths per week during the period of Oct. 26, 2016 to Jan. 30, 2017 (861 deaths), 39 deaths per week during the period of Mar. 1, 2017 to Oct. 10, 2017 (1,274 deaths), and 23 deaths per week during the period of Dec. 5, 2017 to Aug. 13, 2018 (881 deaths).
The weekly death averages stated by Durana were arrived at using varying numbers of weeks.
“We are continuously polishing our war on drugs. We can be tough on crimes at the same time we can be humane as well. These figures would tell us that while we can be relentless and chilling, we also want it to be less bloody,” the PNP official said in a Palace press briefing.
“We are improving, we are making sure that… we are one in protecting the human rights and constitutional rights not only of the accused but also our law enforcers.”
Meanwhile, Durana said a total of 59 police officers have been fired for various infractions linked to the Duterte administration's war on drugs.
He said a total of 3,275 police personnel have been slapped with administrative cases for anti-illegal drug operations from July 1, 2016 to July 31, 2018. Of this number, 778 police officers have been exonerated while 2,438 cases have been dismissed.
Meanwhile, 267 police personnel have also been dismissed for drug use, while another 95 were dismissed for other drug-related offenses from July 1, 206 to July 31, 2018.
Durana said 65 percent of police personnel who were dismissed or penalized have ranks ranging from PO1 to PO3. "Seventy-five percent or 3/4ths of those involved are those of lower ranks," he said.
President Duterte has vowed to make his anti-drug campaign as chilling as the day it began. The PNP, for its part, sought to recalibrate its campaign, as human rights groups continue to slam the drug war killings.