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Number of high-value drug targets rises

 

By AARON RECUENCO

 

Despite aggressive and bloody operations since the drug war was launched more than two years ago, the number of what police describe as high-value targets on illegal drugs trade in the country continue to rise based on the assessment of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
From 9,866 on June 30 this year, the number increased to 9,972 based on the latest assessment conducted on August 15, according to PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.
“This is a result of our recalibration (of drug war), we should not stick to just one list. The problem on illegal drugs, it’s far from over so we really need to make a regular update,” said Albayalde.
But Albayalde explained despite the increase in the figure, only 1,003 are now the subject of the police operations since most of them, a total of 4,959, have already surrendered in the past and are just being regularly monitored.
He added that a little over 3,000 were charged, arrested or killed.
“There are 654 High-Value Target personalities who can no longer be located in their last known addresses and areas of operation, while 322 other HVT personalities had become victims of homicide cases under investigation,” said Albayalde.
Albayalde’s echoed the statement of President Duterte that the campaign against illegal drugs is far from over and could go beyond his term due to the magnitude of the drug problem in the country.
Early this year, the Bureu of Customs was rocked with a controversy involving the smuggling of some R6.4 billion worth of shabu which remain unaccounted. Just recently, another R6.8 billion worth of shabu is believed to have been smuggled in the country but officials said the information is yet to be verified.
Albayalde, however, is optimistic that they could reduce the drug problem in the country to a negligible level before Duterte’s term ends in 2022.
“Hopefully, before his term ends, we would be able to reduce this to a negligible level. This is what we want to happen,” said Albayalde.
Duterte, it was recalled, had promised to end the drug problem in the country within the first three to six months of his term.
Two of the measures that the PNP are now pushing, according to Albayalde, is a shift of its operations to high-value targets – or those who are either serving as key players in drug distribution and those who are protecting them.

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