Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Death toll rises in anti-drug war in Bicol
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 12, (PNA) -- The death toll in the government’s war against illegal drugs in Bicol continue to rise with 63 deaths, including the recent death of a village chief in Daraga, Albay, a top official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol said Wednesday.

Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, Bicol police regional director, said the anti-illegal drug campaign in Bicol went full steam from July until Oct 11 with 600 drug personalities arrested, of whom 63 were killed in police operations.

Buenafe identified the recent fatality as Rommel Marticio, a village chief of Barangay (village) Inarado, Daraga town in Albay.

Quoting a police report, Buenafe said the victim resisted arrest and drew his .38-caliber revolver at a policemen posing as a buyer on Tuesday afternoon in his house in the village of Inarado.

“This forced police narcotics operatives to shoot the suspect, killing him instantly,” said Buenafe.

The victim was a suspected illegal drug peddler, whose name was in the provincial illegal drug watch list and among the “high value targets” wanted by the police, said Chief Insp. Arthur Gomez, chief of the investigation division of the Albay Provincial Police Office.

Recovered from the victim were a sachet of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), drug paraphernalia, his .38-cal. and live ammunitions.

Gomez said the suspect was under surveillance before the operation by the combined elements of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group, Regional Intelligence Unit, Provincial Intelligence Branch,Provincial Public Safety Company, Military Intelligence Branch and Daraga Municipal Police Office.

Buenafe said “the war on drugs was overwhelming that it significantly brought down the region’s crime incidents by 13 percent.”

He said the crime volume in Bicol drastically dropped from 3,031 during the period July to Sept last year to 2,646 for the same period this year.

Citing the achievements of Oplan Tokhang, he said there were 46,000 drug personalities who voluntarily surrendered.

He said elected officials and government employees were among the over 400 drug personalities who had surrendered. (PNA) FPV/GVR/JH/MSA/EDS