PDEA: 1,121 high-value targets caught from January-July 2020

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The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency () reported Tuesday it arrested 1,121 high-value targets in the country from January to July of 2020, chief Wilkins Villanueva said.

Villanueva reported the breakdown of the arrested high-value targets during the Senate hearing on the P2.7-billion proposed budget of PDEA for 2021:

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  • Elected officials – 33
  • Uniformed personnel – 11
  • Government employee – 54
  • Foreign nationals – 57
  • Drug group leaders/members – 16
  • Armed group members – 1
  • Celebrity/prominent personality – 1
  • Wanted-listed – 29
  • Target-listed – 364
  • Drug den maintainers – 108
  • Arrest from high-impact operations – 447

Villanueva added the PDEA conducted over 18,000 anti-drug operations from January to July 2020, of which more than 26,000 drug personalities were arrested.

The PDEA chief also said that the number of the drug-cleared barangays in the country was 19,876 as of July 31, 2020.

However, 14,491 or 34.47% of the 42,045 barangays nationwide are still drug-affected. The number is lower than the over 24,000 drug-affected barangays when President Rodrigo Duterte became the President in 2017.

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PDEA: 1,121 high-value targets caught from January-July 2020

Villanueva said 5,513 of these barangays were “slightly affected,” meaning there are only drug users in the area.

Meanwhile, 8,746 barangays were “moderately affected” barangays, where at least one pusher is present.

The “seriously affected” ones, meanwhile, are 232 in total. These are areas where drug dens and warehouses are located.

More than 7,000 other barangays in the Philippines are unaffected by illegal drugs.

The PDEA chief believes that further barangay drug clearing is “doable” and that the agency under his leadership would continue to implement the barangay drug clearing program fully.

“Parati nating sinasabi, kahit saan man ang droga manggaling, sigurado sir, pag ang barangay is not cleared, sigurado sa barangay ito magla-landing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force COVID Shield chief Police Lieutenant General Guillermo  questioned the basis of Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) claim that  increased by almost 50% COVID-19 pandemic.

Eleazar said in a television interview that based on the Philippine National Police’s records, the killings increase was only 4.74%.

Carlos Conde, HRW – Asia Division researcher, earlier said killings related to the government’s war on drugs increased by 50% from April to July 2020 compared to the previous four-month period.

The drug war killings data was based on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) latest report that 5,810 people died during the anti-illegal drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte won the election in 2016, Conde explained.

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