MANILA, Philippines - Police anti-drug operations have been less bloody, with no reports of suspects getting killed by lawmen in the whole country from Thursday until yesterday morning.
A total of 28 drug suspects were killed in 979 police operations nationwide since the Philippine National Police (PNP) launched its “Project Double Barrel: Reloaded” campaign last week. It was the same figure recorded by the police as of 6 p.m. Thursday.
Officials had stressed the campaign against illegal drugs would be less bloody for as long as the targets surrender peacefully.
However, policemen will not hesitate to kill drug suspects if they fight back, officials said.
“If they fought back and engaged our police in a shootout, we have no choice but to protect ourselves,” said Director Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, director of the PNP Directorate for Operations.
A majority of those killed were in Central Luzon with 16 followed by Central Visayas with five, Calabarzon with two and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with two. Northern Luzon and Zamboanga peninsula regions and Metro Manila had one fatality each.
Two lawmen were wounded since the PNP resumed its war on illegal drugs.
Central Luzon Police director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino said they are always prepared for armed encounters that might occur during drug sting operations.
“I keep reminding our men on the rule of law and police operation procedures. We are always open to investigation if needed,” Aquino said.
The number of people with alleged links to illegal drugs arrested by lawmen has increased, from 1,341 on Thursday to 1,577 by Friday.
Meanwhile, 4,679 suspected drug pushers and users have surrendered under Oplan Tokhang 2 where the police visited 55,087 houses since March 6.