Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Only select PNP units will conduct operations vs illegal drugs

Only select PNP units will conduct operations vs illegal drugs

The president's spokesman, Harry Roque, clarified that the PNP would be called back to assist the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) with "anti-illegal drug operations" but that they would not resume Project Tokhang, the Guardian reported.

"Take note though that the language of the memorandum is that they will resume, I quote, 'They will resume, providing active support in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.' Meaning, PDEA remains the lead but the PNP will again participate in the anti-illegal drug operation", he added.

The PDEA said it had received reports that some drug pushers chose to be billeted inside hotels to conduct their illegal trade because they believed that no law enforcement authorities would try to arrest them in these establishments where a ban on carrying firearms is strictly being enforced.

The Dangerous Drugs Board shall remain as the policymaking and strategy-formulating body in the planning and formulation of policies and programmes on drug prevention and control.

However, he said PDEA has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug-infected areas down to the municipal and village levels.

After declaring last month that he would withdraw the Philippine National Police (PNP) from the country's anti-drug campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte has gone back on his word and is now ordering the police force known for abusing their power back into the Philippines' bloody drug war.

On October 10, Duterte removed police from this fight amid criticism from rights activists and United Nations officials, who referred to thousands of drug suspects killed during a national anti-drug campaign.

For his part, PDEA Director General Aaron N Aquino said: "PDEA welcomes the decision of the President".

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The PDEA chief said that the meeting was an excellent opportunity to open lines of communication, share operational experiences and knowledge about worldwide drug syndicates engaged in drug trafficking and the best possible practices in combating them. Filipinos protested the killings for weeks and demanded justice.

The drug enforcement agency took over the reins of the campaign in October amid growing public concern over drug-related killings during police operations.

Human rights watchdogs said most of the fatalities in the crackdown have been extrajudicial killings committed by cops-an allegation that the government has vehemently and repeatedly denied by insisting that police were only killing in self-defense.

The October 10 suspension was the second time Duterte removed police from the anti-drug campaign.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte holds a weapon as he visits troops fighting the extremist Maute group in Marawi, Philippines, on August 24.

Human Rights Watch deputy director in Asia Phelim Kine said Duterte's deadly war on drugs resulted in the extrajudicial executions of an estimated 12,000 people, mostly from poor families.

Duterte said at the time the police force was "corrupt to the core".

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