Bounty on Philippines police officials protecting drug trade

Manila, Aug 29 (IANS) Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday vowed to continue his war on drugs and announced that he would place a bounty on the heads of police officers protecting the drug trade in the country.

The President made the remarks in a speech delivered at the Heroes Cemetery in Metro Manila’s Taguig city to mark National Heroes Day, EFE news reported.

“I am inclined to place a reward on their head, the members of the police who are protecting drug syndicates,” Duterte said in the televised address, adding “I’m placing per head, 2 million Philippine pesos (around $43,000).”

He also said he would take full responsibility for the war on illegal drugs, as he called on officials to step up their efforts.

The speech came just hours after the dead body of another suspected drug offender was seen on the streets of Metro Manila’s Caloocan city, following an anti-drug police operation.

According to police data, at least 756 persons were killed during anti-drug police operations and 1,160 more by unknown assailants – many of whom were vigilantes – between July 1 and August 23.

The crackdown and resultant extrajudicial killings have drawn widespread international criticism.

The UN earlier this month expressed concern over Duterte’s aggressive anti-narcotics campaign, and called on him to end the wave of killings.

–IANS

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