Philippines Drug War Continues
It has been reported that twelve people, including a city mayor, were killed earlier today in a shoot-out with police officers during a series of pre-dawn anti-drug raids in the southern Philippines, police and local officials said.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur are saying that police officers also arrested the Deputy Mayor of Ozamiz City, about 780 kilometres south of Manila, during the raids, said Chief Superintendent Timoteo Pacleb, a regional police director.
Police simultaneously served search warrants against the properties of Reynaldo Parojinog Senior, Mayor of Ozamiz City, his daughter Deputy Mayor Nova Parojinog and three other family members on allegations they were trading in illegal drugs, Pacleb said.
Police personnel were met with volley of gunfire from their security, prompting the police to retaliate, he added.
Aside from Parojinog, his wife, a provincial board member who was also a relative and four security aides of the family were among those killed in the shoot-out, Pacleb said.
The identities of the other people killed in the incident are still being verified.
Police confiscated high-powered firearms and an undetermined amount of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, from at least four houses of the Parojinog family, the city’s information office said.
Last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed that his aggressive campaign against illegal drugs will not ease despite mounting criticism over the rising death toll.
More than 3,000 suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte became president on 30th June, 2016, according to police statistics. But human rights groups have warned that the actual death toll could be higher.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte warned those involved in drugs that they face “jail or hell” during an astonishing state of the nation speech in which he attacked critics and advocated capital punishment as “retribution” for crimes.
A year into his presidency, the controversial Philippines leader has been accused of spearheading an anti-drugs campaign which has violated human rights laws and claimed the lives of thousands of people.
“I believed then as I believe still that the progress and the development [is a problem] if criminals, illegal drugs, illegal users of drugs are allowed to roam on the streets freely,” he said.
He told delegates that the country’s economy can only flourish in times of peace, before warning that the government’s crackdown on narcotics will be “unrelenting.”
“The fight against illegal drugs will continue because that is the root cause of so much evil and so much suffering. [Drugs] weakens the social fabric and deters foreign investment from pouring in.
“Despite international and local pressures the fight will not stop until those who deal in it [drugs] understand that they have to stop because the alternatives are either jail or hell,” he said.