By Martin Sadongdong
A total of 444 persons were killed in the national government’s anti-illegal drug campaign in one month, bringing the death toll at 4,854, according to government data released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday.
In a Real Numbers PH forum in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesperson, announced that a total of 4,854 drug personalities have been killed in 108,059 operations nationwide from July 1, 2016 to August 31, 2018.
This is 444 deaths higher than the 4,410 drug suspects killed as of July 31, 2018 or an average daily death of 14 drug suspects.
Durana also said that 155,193 drug suspects were arrested in the same period, higher than the previous record of 152,123.
“I think we will take off from the statement of the President that the war on drugs is still far from over. There are still a lot of things to do when the crime syndicates are continuously innovating,” Durana said.
Meanwhile, Director Derrick Carreon, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s Public Information Office (PDEA-PIO), said a total of 223 drug dens and 12 clandestine laboratories have been dismantled. This resulted in the seizure of P24.12 billion worth of illegal drugs and equipment.
The top illegal drugs seized remained to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu worth P17.39 billion, noting a P2.60-billion increase from the previous data.
Carreon said they have learned that drug syndicates tend to put up their laboratories in a variety of places now including exclusive and posh villages or condominium units, or simply in a remote community.
Just last Tuesday, four Hong Kong nationals were arrested in separate buy-bust operations in Paranaque and Manila cities. Carreon said the arrests led them to the dismantling of a kitchen-type laboratory inside a condominium unit in Pasay City. In total, P544-million worth of illegal drugs were seized from the suspects.
“This is the first time where we saw a kitchen-type laboratory in a studio unit where the ideal capacity of production is quite high,” Carreon said.
He explained that a kitchen-type laboratory is usually capable of producing one to three kilograms of illegal drugs per cycle. However, what they discovered from the Hong Kong nationals was the fact that they could produce 40 to 50 kgs of illegal drugs per cycle.
Durana said the drug war will spare no one, even government officials who have allegedly been involved in illegal drug activities.
A total of 271 government employees, 247 elected officials, and 58 uniformed personnel were arrested in various anti-illegal drug operations nationwide.
He said the arrests were either the result of intelligence operation or tips from informants.
Relatedly, the PDEA said a total of P41.55 million were handed out as monetary rewards to 52 civilian informants while 20 operating units were given P13.66 million as reward through Operations “Private Eye” and “Lawmen.”
The internal cleansing program of various government agencies also resulted in the dismissal of 279 officials for drug use while 105 others were uprooted for other drug-related offenses.
Durana also said 8,444 of the total 42,036 barangays were declared drug-free or free from the scourge of illegal drugs.
“Nobody knows what even will happen tomorrow but as far as the PNP is concerned, we are focused and determined to help rid our streets of the menace of illegal drugs,” he said.