New PNP statistics on deaths in PH

A TOTAL of 4,279 drug suspects have been killed in the government’s anti-drugs campaign since 2016. “These are the real numbers,” Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said at a forum on the second anniversary of #Real NumbersPH. “All else other than these are either false, manufactured, or fake,” he said.

The PCOO came up with the “real numbers” to counter the many high figures coming out in various reports – as high as 12,000. It was because of these high figures that several international human rights organizations have expressed concern about the anti-drugs campaign launched at the start of the Duterte administration.

Last week, the Philippine National Police came out with a rather surprising report – there have been 22,983 cases of killings described as “Deaths Under Inquiry” (DUI) from July 1, 2016, to May 21, 2018. In these first 665 days of the new administration, at least 33 persons a day were killed daily in the country, according to the report of the PNP Directorate of Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM).

These are deaths of various kinds – possibly in robberies, in gang fights, in ambushes, etc. Presumably, they include the three priests recently killed in Nueva Ecija and Cagayan. Of this total, according to the recent #Real NumbersPH report, only 4,279 are related to the government campaign against drugs.

But, drug-related or not, this is still a matter of great concern. For it reflects on the country’s peace and order situation. The statistics represent a heavy responsibility for our police forces. In the Mimaropa (Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Police Regional Office, it was reported at a meeting at Camp Crame on May 24, that it had been able to clear 343 cases while 77 remain under investigation, for a 81 percent crime clearance rating. Other police regional offices may not have been as capable due to limitations of personnel and equipment.

In any case, this latest report from the PNP is welcome for it gives the wider picture of killings in the country in the last two years. We accept as the “real number” the report that only 4,279 have been killed in the anti-drugs war, but we must also express our concern that in the same period, there have been 22,983 killings of all kinds in the country.

These killings pose a big problem for the government and the PNP. It may take time but they must be fully investigated and cleared up before the country sinks under the weight of so much unsolved crimes.