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No Lenten break for drug war

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said yesterday there is no Lenten break for the ongoing war on illegal drugs.

Dela Rosa said that the campaign against illegal drugs would continue during the Holy Week, considering that drug pushers/users also have no break in their illegal activities.

“No, we will not stop (with our anti-illegal drugs campaign). There will be no let-up in our campaign,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

Dela Rosa reiterated that there is a need to put an end to the drug problem in the country so there is no reason for the PNP to have a rest.

He added that policemen nationwide will be on duty during the observance of Lent and will not be allowed to take a vacation.

On Wednesday, police arrested 17 drug suspects in Quezon City and four others in Malate, Manila in a series of buy-bust operations. The suspects were brought to police stations pending the filing of appropriate charges against them in courts.

Dela Rosa, however, stressed that he will not prevent policemen from participating in the traditional penitence or “Pabasa” of the Passion of Christ which is observed during Holy Week.

“That’s a personal vocation according to their own volition,” Dela Rosa said.

Since the PNP launched Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded and Oplan Tokhang Revisited on March 6, 2017, the number of drug suspects killed during encounters with the police stood at 118 as of 6 a.m. April 13, 2017.

Dela Rosa said it appears that there is a drop of about 80 percent in the number of killed drug suspects compared to the first chapter of their campaign against illegal drugs in which 2,602 individuals were slain over a six-month period.

“My assessment is that (the second chapter of our campaign) has become less bloody, our Double Barrel Reloaded compared to Double Barrel Part 1,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa said some 8,688 people were arrested by anti-illegal drug operatives while 80,253 others surrendered during the enforcement of Oplan Tokhang Revisited.

Dela Rosa said one policeman was killed while four others were wounded in police operations.
(with reports from Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola and Analou De Vera) (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)