IN the Philippines, a graft-ridden Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people, those involved in the highly-profitable but illegal drug business either end up behind bars or killed.
But others give up to the authorities, preferring to undergo rehabilitation in government or private drug rehabilitation centers in various parts of this impoverished country.
The Duterte administration’s war against the “drug monster” has claimed the lives of 4,854 armed drug suspects, who were killed in gunfights with law enforcement agents.
Records also show that during the same period, a total of 155,193 known drug personalities were hauled to jail.
In last Wednesday’s news briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City, officials of the Presidential Communications Office presented the latest Real Numbers PH update over the past 25 months.
Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said that during the last 25 months, the government conducted a total of 108,059 anti-narcotics operations in various parts of the Philippines.
They were conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
Banaag said 8,444 barangays were declared “drug-cleared,” but she added that these villages are constantly being watched amid the possibility of renewed illegal drug activity.
During the same period, 223 drug dens and 13 shabu laboratories were dismantled, according to newly-promoted Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesman.
Likewise, 279 law enforcement agents found to be involved in illegal drug activities were dismissed from the service.
NBI lawyer Auralyn Pascual, on the other hand, said that during the period, government operatives seized an estimated P24.12 billion worth of shabu and other prohibited drugs.
People, including the ordinary citizens, are made to believe that the Duterte administration, which ends at 12 noon on June 30, 2022, is winning the war against the drug menace.