War on drugs not so deadly, PNP data show
More than 1,000 drug suspects have been killed in police operations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs but the figure makes up only a small percentage of the total number of personalities affected by the anti-drug campaign, statistics from the Philippine National Police (PNP) show.
From July 1 to Sept. 5, 2016, the PNP recorded 1,033 drug suspects killed in police operations that covered a period of 67 days.
While large, the number of deaths in police anti-drug operations constituted only 6 percent of the 16,226 suspects arrested or killed during the period. The vast majority of the suspects, numbering 15,193, comprising 94 percent, were captured alive.
The figures appear to dispel perceptions that killing drug suspects have become common for the Duterte administration and the police.
The death rate becomes smaller when the number of those who surrendered is considered.
The PNP said as of Sept. 5, a total of 687,953 drug suspects had given up. Among them were 48,563 confessed pushers and 639,319 admitted users.
In this context, the 1,033 deaths in police operations form only 0.2 percent of the total number of suspects affected by the war on drugs.
Duterte’s “deadly” war on drugs caught the attention of human rights advocates both here and abroad, largely because of his pronouncements to “kill” drug suspects. He also encouraged ordinary citizens and rebels to kill them.
In a Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa acknowledged the big number of deaths but attributed this to several factors.
He said there were more deaths because the PNP had launched more anti-drug operations at the start of the term of Duterte, whose all-out support he credited for the renewed vigor of the police in going after drug suspects.
PNP data showed that as of Sept. 5, its units nationwide conducted 15,905 anti-drug operations for an average of 237 per day, more than triple than in previous times. These resulted in the arrest or death of 16,226 of drug personalities, or 242 per day.
Of the drug personalities, 227 (94 percent) were arrested alive per day and 15 (6 percent) were killed.
In comparison, the PNP reported that for 2015 it conducted 27,349 anti-drug operations or an average of 75 per day, which are 167 less than the current average. These resulted in the death or arrest of 42,700 drug personalities, an average of 117 arrests or deaths per day.
Dela Rosa also stressed that drug suspects died because “they resisted arrest.”
“If they did not resist and did not offer a threat to the arresting party, then they would be alive,” he said. CDG