Gov't forum clarifies numbers in Duterte's war on drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) — A government-initiated forum clarified on Tuesday figures behind the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

Named #RealNumbersPH, agencies primarily involved in the anti-drug campaign presented comprehensive reports and "real figures" on the country's drug problem.

The agencies involved were the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the President Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Authorities said the 7,000 deaths which international rights groups and media attribute to the war on drugs was misleading.

Vice President Leni Robredo used the same figure in a controversial video for the United Nations Narcotics conference.

According to PDEA, PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation, out of 9,432 homicide cases they have recorded from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, only 1,847 or 19.6 percent were drug operations-related.

The number of those that have been confirmed as not related to the drug war was 1,894 while the remaining 5,691 homicide cases were still under investigation.

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"Yung 5,691 po, ito po ay iniimbestigahan pa. Sana po ay maintindihan nyo na ang imbestigasyon, hindi ito basta-basta binabanatan lang," PNP Directorate for Operations Chief Camilo Cascolan said.

[Translation: Those 5,691 case are still being investigated. We hope you would understand that we could not do this just haphazardly.]

He added that the investigation required witnesses and forensic studies to know what really happened in the killings.

Their data also showed that out of 67,609 drug users and pushers involved in police operations, 64,917 or 96 percent have surrendered, while only around 4 percent have died.

Despite the number of deaths, the PNP reports a decline in the total number of crimes in the country.

The report also shows a total of 53,509 drug operations since the start of the Duterte administration's drug war to the present.

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Social Welfare Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said the misleading figures on the drug war going around have had negative effects on the country's development.

"We're just pushed down our throat. Not just that, the international community, as stories are being told about us and it is patently false. We're here because we are pushing back. It's not true. We are a country that is getting better every day that the president is there," Badoy said.

The data will be available on the Philippine Information Agency's website.