MANILA - Despite widely criticized killings under the war on drugs, the number of murder cases recorded across the country has dropped, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.
Citing reported gains of its "intensified campaign" against crime, illegal drugs and corruption, the PNP said murder cases dropped 7.98% year on year, comparing the first eight months of 2016 and 2017.
The PNP's Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) recorded 6,391 murder cases from January to August 2017, 554 cases less than the recorded 6,945 during the same period last year.
The PNP released the data amid criticism against President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, where thousands have died in police operations and other unexplained circumstances.
Per official government figures, a total of 3,811 drug personalities were killed in police anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017.
Human rights groups have placed the death toll at a much higher 13,000, but the administration has repeatedly said this count is overblown.
Government has also asserted that it does not sanction unlawful killings. Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte, who has vowed to pursue his fierce anti-drug campaign, reminded police against committing abuses.
Meanwhile, PNP-DIDM Director Augusto Marquez said theft is the most prevalent crime this year, making up 32.65 percent of total index crimes- or those that are "serious in nature"- within the same period.
Marquez said murder only accounted for 8.41 percent of the total index crimes, based on data from the Unit Crime Periodic Report (UCPER).
The PNP has said peace and order has improved since it waged a stringent campaign against criminality.