The number of people arrested in the government’s war on illegal drugs has breached the 200,000 mark, authorities said Thursday as they sought the arrest of more high-value targets.
A total of 220,728 people were arrested in 151,601 anti-illegal drug operations from July 1, 2016, up to Nov. 30 this year, according to a “Real Numbers” update by the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Meanwhile, PDEA director general Aaron Aquino on Thursday said he was in a better position without Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee Against Drugs.
He said Robredo was “okay,” but he was uncomfortable sharing responsibilities with her given that she was Vice President while he was only an undersecretary.
"It was hard for me to dictate because she is VP and I am only a Usec. Secondly, I cannot dictate to her what to do and what not to do," Aquino said.
The death toll in the drug war inched higher but stayed at the 5,000-mark or 5,582.
A total of 8,185 high-value targets were arrested, 2,290 of whom were in the President’s list.
"We need more arrests of high-value targets," Aquino said.
He said the authorities were also on the lookout for about 186 drug rings in the country.
He said those groups were included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of more than 12,000 high-value drug targets covering government officials ranging from congressmen to village chiefs.
Authorities also said 42,025 villages were cleared of illicit drugs while 17,175 had yet to be cleared.
Law enforcers had also dismantled 433 drug dens and laboratories since the war on drugs started three years ago.
The amount of illegal drugs and drug-related materials seized by the authorities had reached P40.39 billion of which P31.25 billion were from “shabu.
The Duterte administration has pursued a fierce
campaign against illegal drugs, mostly netting traders and users of shabu.
Last year, Duterte expressed frustration at the difficulty of realizing his 2016 campaign promise of ridding the country of the drug scourge.
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