DRUG supply in the Philippines is now down by 80 to 90 percent as a result of the massive anti-narcotics campaign ordered by President Duterte since he assumed the presidency last June 30. To silence their critics, the Philippine National Police leadership said it also must be noted that the past 11 weeks, over 17,000 drug traffickers are now in jail after they did not put up any resistance while being arrested.
PNP chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa, said the majority of the more than 17,000 jailed drug personalities are facing non-bailable charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 -- proof that police will only shoot once their lives are in danger.
Since July 1, the war on drugs have also claimed the lives of over a dozen policemen and soldiers, all killed while going after armed and defiant drug traffickers in the country, the latest of them Police Officer 1 Romeo Mandapat, a 24-year old member of the Police-Community Precinct 5 of the Caloocan City Police Station who was shot dead by wanted drug dealer, security guard Jerson Maturan during an operation in Sampaloc Street, Barangay 178, Caloocan City at 2 a.m. Friday last week.
The suspect, who was armed with a caliber .45 pistol, was also killed in the shootout. Two other NPD operatives were also wounded in the simultaneous anti-drug operations launched by the NPD which resulted in the killing of 12 suspects and the seizure of a sizeable amount of drugs and weapons, according to Northern Police District director, Senior Superintendent Roberto B. Fajardo.
Gen. dela Rosa said that since last July 1, at least eight policemen and three soldiers have been killed while 27 others were injured. Of the wounded, 19 are policemen while eight are members of the Armed Forces.
The PNP chief credited the drug supply reduction to the success of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang and Project: Double Barrel which they launched last July 1 to address illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
“The good news is that we have significantly reduced the supply of illegal drugs by some 80 to 90 percent,” Gen. dela Rosa told officers and men of the Police Regional Office 5 in Bicol region headed by Chief Superintendent Melvin Ramon G. Buenafe which marked its 115th Police Service anniversary in Camp Simeon Ola in Legazpi City last week.
The top cop also underscored the fact that nearly 17,000 drug offenders -- 16,891 to be exact -- were arrested by the police from July 1 to yesterday without them firing a single shot since the suspects did not put up any armed resistance.
“We are posting tremendous gains and slowly but surely winning the streets from the illegal drug menace while removing the fear of crime and violence in the hearts of our countrymen,” he said.
The PNP chief said what he wants for his men is to put more drug offenders behind bars in order to protect peace-loving citizens on the streets and the confines of their homes noting that many crimes recorded by the police specifically rapes, murders, armed robberies and holdups have been perpetrated by drug-using criminals.
Dela Rosa said he wants to ensure that the streets will be safe for citizens and an unsafe place for criminals specifically drug traffickers as they will be forever hunted by the police.
“If anyone is more afraid these days, these are the people who are involved in the illegal drug trade that their days are numbered because they may be arrested and jailed anytime,” he said.
As of yesterday, the PNP said more than 1,100 armed drug dealers have been killed in gunbattles with anti-narcotics agents in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon region and other parts of the country. Of the nearly 17,000 suspects arrested, 10,635 were notorious drug dealers while 6,256 were users of shabu, marijuana and the designer drug called Ecstasy.
A total of 712,848 confessed drug traffickers and users have also surrendered to the police in the wake of the intensified Oplan: Tokhang which has seen officers entering even exclusive subdivisions and condominiums in Metro Manila on orders of National Capital Region Police Office director, Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency headed by Director General Isidro S. Lapeña also noted a marked increase in the price of shabu or the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ in the underground market due to the scarcity of supply. Last year and before the May 2016 elections, drug syndicates in the country were selling a kilo of shabu for less than a P1 million, said PDEA spokesman, Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon.
The PDEA spokesperson said the increase in the price of shabu is apparently due to the reduction in supply as well as the hesitation of drug dealers to sell drugs in the streets nowadays.
Carreon said the emergence of ‘new players’ in the drug market including African Drug Syndicates and the Mexican Sinaloa Drug Syndicate could also be cited as a reason behind the previous big supply of drugs here. In the past, the African and Mexican drug rings have rivaled Chinese or Filipino-Chinese drug syndicates and ensured there would be large supply of drugs.