Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald de la Rosa believes that the government is winning the war on illegal drugs, claiming that Filipinos are now safer because index crime went down by 27 percent.
“We are winning the war. I am very satisfied but there were problems encountered but rest assured that we are giving attention [to these problems]and solutions,” he told reporters in Camp Crame.
A year ago, the Duterte administration launched a massive campaign against illegal drugs, dubbed Operation “Tokhang.” The anti-drug war, which was roundly criticized by opposition lawmakers and international organizations, was briefly suspended following the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
As of the latest PNP count, 3,200 suspected drug personalities have been killed in 63,926 anti-drug operations while 86,933 drug suspects were arrested. Meanwhile, 1.3 million have surrendered to authorities.
De la Rosa said streets in Metro Manila have become safer.
“If you go out there on the streets, ask people if they feel safe on the street after one year. If they don’t, then the failure is on us but if they will say that they are safe compared last year, then we are successful,” he said. “But do not ask the administration enemies, because by all means, they will make issues [out of the drug war],” he added.
The PNP chief said index crime volume, particularly drug-related cases, dropped by 27 percent.
“But I can honestly tell you and I am not just boasting, people on the streets, they are much safer now,” de la Rosa said.
On Monday, Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte said the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries should be “bold and brazen” in fighting illegal drugs.
The chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs made the call ahead of the country’s hosting of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Inter-parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Fact Finding Committee to Combat the Drug Menace from July 4 to 8.
“We are in a war, there will be collateral damages, but these were not done on purpose. Street drug pushers and users who have millions worth of drugs in their possession won’t let themselves be arrested by the police. They will fight it out,” he told reporters.
“Do you deal with drug personalities by firing a warning shot? Ask them to turn themselves in peacefully? It can’t be that way. We can’t treat them with kid gloves. Otherwise, they can kill you.”
“I am not going to advice them [other countries]to kill if needed. We will advise them to be aggressive, bold, and brazen in dealing with this enemy. Otherwise, the enemy will kill you. The enemy here is not an ordinary enemy. They will kill you. They are more aggressive than any law enforcement agency in the country,” Barbers pointed out.
“We cannot discount the fact that there are human rights violations, but these are perpetuated by some corrupt officials. The human rights violations are not a result of a direct order coming from the President. This is probably the result of some eager beaver police officers running after all these drug lords and drug pushers,” Barbers added.
with Llanesca T. Panti