Drug war death toll lower in 2018, says PNP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) — Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Senior Supt. Bong Durana, Jr. on Friday said recent data showed a lower number of drug war-linked deaths this year.

Durana made the statement during a briefing on the 'real numbers' update of the administration's drug-free campaign in Malacañang.

The PNP spokesperson said government agencies' accumulated data showed that from an average of 100 deaths per week, the anti-drug campaign death toll was down to 23 cases per week.

"During the first three months (of the campaign), there's an average of 100 deaths weekly," Durana told reporters. "So we adjusted our campaign."

Durana said the data from Dec. 5, 2017 to Aug. 13, 2018 showed 881 drug war-related death cases — listing 23 deaths on average per week.

He said this is a new low for police operations, as statistics from March to October 2017 showed an average of 39 deaths weekly.

Durana said PNP is also conducting internal cleansing.

He said more than 200 police officials were relieved from their posts after they tested positive for illegal drugs, while 95 personnel were also dismissed from service for other drug-related offense.

Drug war continues

Despite this, Durana said the police will continue to support the anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"As far as PNP is concerned, the President was spot on in concentrating on the war on drugs," Durana said.

He cited a recent Pulse Asia survey which showed majority of Filipinos viewed Duterte's drug war as the most important achievement of the administration.

"If we have a very good peace and order in our country, it will create an enabling environment for peace and progress in our country," he added.

Government data show more than 4,000 'drug personalities' have been killed in anti-drug operations, while more than 23,000 homicide cases — many of them suspected to be drug-related — are still being investigated.