Philippine President Orders Police to Rejoin Fight Against Narcotics

By Sputnik News

Philippine policemen on a saturation drive in one of the country’s slum districts. Image © AP Photo/ Aaron Favila

EFFORTS by a Philippine agency to combat drug trafficking will be supported by the country’s law enforcement officers, in a sign that the government is seeking to reinforce its anti-drug campaign.

Philippine police have been ordered by their president to rejoin the country’s ongoing war on drugs.

Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions “to resume providing active support” to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency indicate an about-face on his previous decisions related to the fight against narcotics.

On October 10, Duterte removed police from this fight amid criticism from rights activists and UN officials, who referred to thousands of drug suspects killed during a national anti-drug campaign.

The subsequent weeks have seen “a notable resurgence in illegal drugs activities and crimes,” media reports cited presidential spokesperson Harry Roque as saying.

The 160,000-strong police force in the Philippines apparently dwarfs the country’s ant-drug agency, which currently numbers about 2,000 officers.

The country’s anti-drug campaign kicked off on May 9, 2016 when Duterte won the presidential elections.

The campaign was first suspended in January after several police officers allegedly used the campaign as a cover to kidnap a South Korean businessman and extort money from his family.

Methamphetamines and marijuana remain the most widely-used illegal drugs in the Philippines, where the authorities are also seriously concerned about the illegal use of ephedrine and methylenedioxy methamphetamine.

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