By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has allayed fears of more bloody war on drugs following President Duterte’s pronouncement of a need to have the campaign be relentless and chilling.
PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Benigno Durana said Duterte’s declaration is a reminder to the police force and other law enforcement agencies to continue with their successful operations to totally lick the illegal drugs problems in the country.
“There is no reason to express apprehension over the renewed ‘relentless and chilling’ continuation of the anti-illegal drugs campaign,” said Durana.
“We take it to mean that our operations must be without let-up to effectively establish the ‘certainty of punishment’ to the drug syndicates, their patrons, protectors and criminal support systems that sustain the drug trade,” he added.
In his speech during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte hit critics of the war on drugs as he defended the gains of the campaign and explained why it must be pursued.
“Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives,” said Duterte in his speech.
Durana said the PNP support the President’s declaration as it would be a bad timing if the war on drugs is slowed at this point when its impact is already reflecting on the crime statistics.
The PNP leadership earlier reported more than 20 percent decrease in crime rate, attributing it to the campaign against illegal drugs. Cases of murder and homicide rose sharply, which is backed by the reports of killings of suspected illegal drug personalities by suspected vigilante groups and other people.
“We have achieved encouraging results in the overall anti-crime campaign by striking at the root cause of the problem which is illegal drugs. It is not a good strategic move to lay low on the anti-illegal drugs campaign while it is at its climax,” said Durana.
The official said the President and the PNP have the support of the community on the war on drugs as evidenced by the result of the survey, stating that 68 percent of Filipinos recognize the anti-illegal drugs campaign as the ‘most important achievement’ of the 2-year old Duterte administration.
“We are inspired to work even harder by the latest public opinion poll This popular opinion validates another earlier survey that found 88% or 8 out of 10 Filipinos expressing approval to the government’s war on drugs,” said Durana.
The PNP has been the focus of intense attacks since July 2016, with critics saying that the police forceS have been converted into an effective killing machine of the government against suspected drug personalities that sometimes claim collateral lives including that of children.