The crime rate in the Philippines has fallen by half under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday.
Only 1.35 million crimes were reported from 2016 to this year, just half of the 2.7 million crimes tallied from 2010 to 2015, said Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III.
“Since the anti-drug war started in 2016, statistics had already shown that crimes committed from 2010 to 2015 were brought down by 50 percent,” he said in an interview with ANC.
Densing claimed that several laboratories of illegal drugs had stopped operation while drug lords left the country when the administration launched a brutal anti-narcotics campaign.
Based on government data, anti-drug operatives seized around P75.4-billion worth of illegal drugs, arrested more than 327,000 drug suspects and destroyed over 1,000 drug dens and clandestine laboratories since Duterte assumed the highest government post in July 2016.
Over 6,200 suspects have also been killed in anti-drug operations by the police according to official records, but concerned groups pegged the fatalities at 20,000, including those killed by vigilantes.
Densing, however, said authorities were expecting the demand for illegal drugs to increase as pandemic mobility restrictions were relaxed.
“Unfortunately, as people make money and people are losing jobs, they would like to look at alternative ways of making money and illegal drugs is really just, unfortunately, one of them,” he said.
The Interior official vowed that the administration would continue to go after groups behind the illegal drug trade until President Duterte steps down from office on 30 June.
“While we say we wouldn’t be able to bring down illegal drugs a hundred percent, at least we put them at a minimal level,” Densing said.
He also renewed his call for presumptive President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr. to continue the administration’s campaign against drugs.
Marcos had said earlier that he would be willing to continue the flagship program of his successor, who was lauded by Duterte’s most ardent supporters who have said they felt safer in the streets at night.
Last year, the International Criminal Court’s pre-trial chamber allowed the Office of the Prosecutor to conduct a full-blown investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed by policemen during Duterte’s drug war.
It remains to be seen how the Marcos administration will deal with foreign investigators.