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Panelo: 20,538 villages drug-cleared

How can they say we’re not winning the war

Francis Wakefield



PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FACEBOOK PRESIDENT Duterte’s war against drugs will be one of his greatest legacies, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

Contrary to claims made by critics, especially those who are against the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs, government efforts to fight the menace that destroys lives significantly contributed to a peaceful Philippines.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, during his “Counterpoint” program aired over People’s Television Network 4, said although the government has not totally eradicated the illegal drug problem, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has made significant strides in the campaign.

“How can they say we’re not winning the war? Just by comparing the Duterte administration’s achievements with what previous administrations did, the numbers are significant,” he said.

Panelo said from July 2016 to October 2020, a total of 10,721 high-value targets were arrested by PDEA based on its “Real Numbers Philippines Year 4” report.

Of the high-value targets nabbed, 287 were foreign nationals, 362 elected officials, 102 were uniformed personnel and 445 were government employees.

About 3,418 children involved in the illegal drug trade were also rescued.

“To critics who do nothing but point out flaws and attack officials, read the latest statistics. According to PDEA, 10,721 high-value targets have been arrested since July 2016,” he added.

Included in the arrested personalities were 3,098 target-listed personalities, 751 drug group leaders or members, 66 armed group members, 1,035 drug den maintainers, 232 wanted suspects, 18 celebrities or professionals and 4,325 from high-impact operations.

PDEA also conducted 183,525 anti-illegal drug operations, resulting in the arrest of 266,126 individuals and the death of 5,942 others.

Panelo added that of 42,045 villages in the country, 20,538 are now considered “drug-cleared” while 14,308 are still under surveillance.

Some 648 dens and clandestine laboratories were also dismantled.

“P56.26-billion worth of illegal drugs and other items have been destroyed since July 2016,” Panelo said.