Manila, March 22 (IANS) Thirteen alleged drug traffickers were shot dead by the police in 24 hours in Philippines’ Bulacan province as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
The police killed 13 suspects and arrested another 109 during an intensive operation that lasted from Tuesday midnight to Thursday, according to a statement by the National Police in Bulacan province located north of Manila with a population of 2.2 million.
During the raid, the police also seized 101 grams of shabu — a hydrochloride of methamphetamine — the cheapest and most popular drug among the poor in the country, 670 grams of marijuana, 18 assorted firearms and 18 pieces of ammunition, Efe news reported.
The anti-drugs campaign, launched by Duterte after taking office in June 2016, has left over 4,000 people dead, according to latest official figures.
Bulacan province, among the worst affected by the anti-drug campaign, came into the spotlight in August last year after a record 32 drug suspects were killed in the region in a span of 24 hours.
In addition to the 4,000 people killed in police raids throughout the Philippines, it is estimated that at least another 3,000 people were killed by vigilante groups, especially in the first few months of the campaign, encouraged by an environment of impunity.
The campaign is backed by close to 90 per cent of Filipinos but has been strongly denounced by other countries and international organizations for rampant human rights abuses.
Duterte, however, has remained unfazed by the criticism and reiterated that the campaign will continue until drug-trafficking and crime is wiped out from the country.