Over 200,000 arrested in 3-year drug war

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2019 02:38 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2019 08:24 PM

MANILA- The number of persons arrested in the government’s drug war has breached the 200,000-mark, authorities reported Thursday as they sought more arrests of high-value targets.

A total of 220,728 people were arrested in 151,601 anti-illegal drug operations from July 1, 2016, up to Nov. 30, according to a "Real Numbers" update by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The death toll in the drug war meanwhile inched higher but stayed at the 5,000-mark at 5,582.

A total of 8,185 high-value targets were arrested, 2,290 of which are in the President’s list.

“We need more arrests of high-value targets,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said.

He added that authorities are also on the lookout for about 186 drug rings in the country.

The said drug groups, according to Aquino, are included in President Duterte’s list of over 12,000 high-value drug targets, which covers government officials ranging from congressmen to village chiefs.

Authorities also reported that a total of 42,025 villages were cleared of illicit drugs while 17,175 have yet to be cleared.

Law enforcers have also dismantled a total of 433 drug dens and laboratories since the war on drugs started 3 years ago.

The amount of illegal drugs and drug-related materials seized by authorities has reached P40.39 billion of which P31.25 billion is “shabu.”

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.