Dela Rosa says PNP hit year-end drugs war target

Bea Cupin
Dela Rosa says PNP hit year-end drugs war target
But the figures don't really seem to match

MANILA, Philippines – A few days before 2017 rolled in, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed it hit its year-end targets for President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

In a press conference in Camp Crame on Tuesday, December 27, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said the police had accounted for “1,326,472 individuals who were involved in illegal drugs from July 1, 2016 to December 22, 2016.”

The figure is 73% of the 1.8 million “current” drug users, according to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

But the 1.3 million figure which the PNP now brandishes also includes over 147,756 drug suspects arrested or killed even before Duterte or Dela Rosa came into office.

The breakdown, according to data from the PNP Directorate for Operations (DO), is as follows:

  • 1,049,302 individuals who have surrendered under Oplan TokHang
  • 45,041 who were arrested
  • 2,295 drug suspects who were killed during police operations
  • 69,647 drug offenders in jails
  • 54 under counseling with the DSWD
  • 147,756 drug personalities arrested or killed from 2010 to June 30, 2016

Data mismatch?

The data coming from the DO also seems to exceed data forwarded by the PNP’s Public Information Office (PIO) to media covering the PNP.

In an update on “Project Double Barrel Alpha” forwarded to reporters Tuesday morning, only 980,638 drug personalities were listed as “surrendered” under “Project Tokhang.” The info provided by the PIO comes from “data submitted by [Police Regional Offices].”

The PNP’s baseline number – of 1.8 million drug users – is also different from the figure Duterte himself frequently cites in speeches. The President has claimed there are between 3 million and 4 million drug addicts in the country.

Asked about this difference, Dela Rosa said: “Hindi natin kinokontra ‘yung sinasabi ng Presidente na 4 million. Totoo po iyan. Based on the exponential growth na posibleng nangyayari between 2010 to 2016. ‘Yan ‘yung estimate na aabot ng 3 to 4 million. Pero ang ginawa nating basis ngayon ‘yun munang data na-produce ng DDB nung 2010 from a survey na lumabas ng 1.8 million ang drug personalities sa ating bansa.”

(We aren’t contradicting what the President says. It’s true based on the exponential growth that may have happened between 2010 and 2016. That’s the estimate of 3 to 4 million. But the basis we have now is the data produced by DDB from a 2010 survey that said there are 1.8 million drug personalities in the country.)

The DDB survey was conducted in 2015.

Dela Rosa said they made the 1.8-million figure their basis so they would have “doable targets.”

Since assuming office, Duterte has waged a popular but controversial war on illegal drugs. Although it’s the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that is tasked to take the lead in anti-narcotics efforts, it’s the PNP who has taken the spotlight in recent months.

Aside from the more than 2,000 drug suspects killed in police operations, the PNP has recorded 4,049 victims classified as “deaths under investigation” or vigilante-style killings with suspected links to illegal drugs.

Dela Rosa, however, has insisted that only 1,000 of these killings had actual links to the narcotics trade. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.