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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, August 16, 2018

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Philippines records its bloodiest day EVER in war on drugs

Philippines police killed 32 people in raids in Manila

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MANILA, Philippines - In what became the single deadliest day of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s unrelenting war on drugs - the Philippines police killed 32 people in raids in Manila.

The police conducted dozens of anti-drug operations in a province north of the capital, Manila and about 109 petty criminals, including street-level drug peddler, were arrested.

Provincial police chief, Romeo Caramat said that officials had seized dozens of guns during the operations across Bulacan province that started on Monday night and continued until Tuesday afternoon.

Making the announcement in a news conference, Caramat said, "We have conducted 'one-time, big-time' operations in the past, so far, the number of casualties and deaths, this is the highest.”

Defending the operations from activities, who had previously blamed the country for carrying out extra judicial killings in its war on drugs, Caramat defended police action and said the deaths occured during shootouts, and were not executions.

He said, “There are some sectors that will not believe us, but, we are open for any investigation. All we can say is that we don't have any control of the situation. As much as possible, we don't want this bloody encounter."

So far, since Duterte assumed presidency on June 30 last year, thousands of people have been killed in his brutal war on drugs which is his signature anti-drugs policy.

Most of the victims have been users and small-time dealers from poor neighborhoods.

The anti-drug war in the country has alarmed the international community, with activists and human rights groups claiming that police have been executing suspects and planting drugs and guns at crime scenes. 

However, the police and the government officials have rejected the claims and the country’s president has often lashed out at critics and abused them publicly.

Addressing the operation, Duterte said in a speech, "There were 32 killed in Bulacan in a massive raid, that's good. Let's kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country."

Caramat added that the police had conducted 49 sting drug operations in Bulacan that resulted in about 20 armed encounters.

Ten other gunfights ensued when police tried to serve arrest warrants to suspects who fought back.

The police chief said that 93 of those held were wanted for other crimes, including drugs offences.

So far, the Bulacan province has been a major target in the drugs war, and Caramat said that about 425 people have been killed and 4,000 offenders arrested in the province.

He said it is currently the second-biggest hot spot in the crackdown outside of the Manila area.

Duterte’s political opponents have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing the president and top aides of crimes against humanity.

The president’s critics have argued that they failed to address allegations of widespread police abuses that have been brought to their attention.

However, Duterte fought back, welcoming the ICC complaint, and said he was willing to rot in jail to protect Filipinos.

 

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