When 16 million Filipinos voted for Duterte into the presidency in 2016, they expected that the new administration will eradicate drugs within three to six months as he promised during his campaign.
However, when the sixth-month deadline loomed, President Duterte realized that the problem of drugs in the country was deeply rooted even within government-led agencies and the police.
President Duterte then led a two-pronged strategy of going after drug pushers and drug lords on the street while cleaning out his own administration of drug-compromised and corrupted officials.
Data from #RealNumbersPH show that from July 2016 to May 2021, the Duterte administration has arrested 293,841 individuals while 6,147 have died during anti-drug operations in what the critics of the Duterte administration cite as a ‘bloody’ war that has affected lives of innocent Filipinos.
Of these arrests, 12,356 were considered as ‘high value targets’. These include 381 elected officials, 481 government employees, 117 uniformed personnel, and 300 foreign nationals. In addition, 5,191 were arrested from high impact operations, 3,516 were among the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) target list, 782 were drug group leaders and members, 1,231 were drug den maintainers, 263 were among PDEA’s ‘Wanted List’, 72 were armed group members, while 22 were celebrities and/or PRC license holders.
Officials have also seized Php59.93B of drugs and other laboratory equipment across 203,715 anti-illegal drug operations. It also raided 807 drug dens and clandestine laboratories.
Ma. Concepcion Simera, a pharmacist in Abu Dhabi for over 14 years, considers this as a huge step of the government in preventing illegal drugs from reaching the hands of innocent children.
“Para sa akin, ang malawakang kampanya laban sa droga ang isang pinakamalaking hakbang na ginawa ng administrasyon bilang malasakit sa mga kabataan na sinasabing susunod na mga lider ng bayan,” said Simera.
Josh Leron, a senior store keeper for 12 years in the UAE, noted that there the drug problem in the Philippines still persists to this day.
“Sa tingin ko nagkulang pa ang administrasyon ni PRRD sa War on Drugs kasi hindi pa ito tuluyang nawawala. Although malaki na ang pagbabago, kaya lang may nakakalusot pa rin,” said Leron.