Philippines: After urban spaces, PDEA to wage drug war in 42,000 villages

Around 4,000 illegal drug suspects and peddlers have been shot dead by unknown vigilantes riding on tandem motorcycles since Duterte announced the drug war.

Philippines deadly drug war continues
A gun is left in a pool of blood at the scene where a man identified to be on a drug watchlist was killed in a shooting encounter with police in Parola slum in Manila. Reuters

The Filipino anti-drug agency is all set to refocus its drug war campaign to the 42,000 villages to make sure that it is able to end the illegal drug problem in Philippines by 2022, the year when President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to step down after his term ends.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director, Isidro Lapena, said that after seizing USD 1.6 billion-worth of illegal drugs last year in urban areas, it is now time for PDEA to bring the war against drugs in the smaller villages commonly known as barangays.

Lapena made this announcement this week when he visited Davao City to warn drug peddlers to stop the illegal trade. The Anti-Drug Czar also said that there are 4 million drug users in the country and the statistics are attractive to drug syndicates operating in the country.

The Filipino government has arrested officials allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade. Among those arrested were elected mayors and a former justice department minister.

Since Duterte took over as president, he vowed that he will wage a bloody war against illegal drugs in the country. Moreover, around 4,000 illegal drug suspects and peddlers have been shot dead by unknown vigilantes riding on tandem motorcycles. Duterte's critics called the extra-judicial killing as the handiwork of the present administration.

The PDEA estimated that the illegal drug operating in the Philippines is a USD 2.5 billion industry. The anti-drug government agency also said that they shut down 152 drug dens in the country as a result of the 64,000 anti-drug operations. However, the operations against drugs also cost the lives of 57 policemen assisting the PDEA, who were engaged in firefight with drug suspects.