Philippines war on drugs and crime intensifies, at least 58 killed

August 17, 2017 | By | Reply More

At least 26 people died overnight in police operations in the Philippines capital Manila, authorities said on Thursday, a second night of heavy bloodshed this week in an intensification of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fierce war on drugs and crime.

drugs and crimeThe killings across Manila followed 32 deaths in police raids on Monday night in Bulacan province, which borders the capital. Together, they mark the deadliest period of a drugs-focused crackdown that has killed thousands of Filipinos, and caused international alarm, since Duterte took office over a year ago.

Colonel Erwin Margarejo, spokesman for Manila police, described the raids that started late Wednesday in Manila as “one-time, big-time” operations, the same term used by police in Bulacan, who said the victims died because they chose to put up a fight.

The term has been used by Philippines police to describe a coordinated anti-crime drive in crime-prone districts, usually slums or low-income neighborhoods, often with additional police deployed.

It was however not immediately clear what was behind the step-up in the number of coordinated police operations this week.

According to police reports, a total of 179 people were arrested in Manila and Bulacan. The reports said police launched 84 operations in the two regions, the majority of which were “buy-bust” stings, in which plain-clothes officers attempt to trap drug peddlers.

“This is ‘one-time, big-time’ operations, so it is not focused only on drugs, we are operating also against other street crimes, like robbery, but these people could also be under the influence of drugs,” Margarejo said.

“If they resisted violently, our police have to defend themselves.”

Duterte unleashed his crackdown the day he took office on June 30 last year after a convincing win in an election in which he campaigned heavily on a promise to use deadly force to wipe out crime and drugs.

On Wednesday, he indicated the latest operations had his blessing.

Duterte said it was good that 32 criminals had been killed in Bulacan, then added: “Let’s kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”

Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said there had been no instruction to change or increase the scale and scope of the anti-drugs campaign.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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