PDEA eyes 'less bloody' drug war as it takes over

MANILA, Philippines — After being designated the sole agency in charge of the war on drugs, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency vowed that the anti-narcotics campaign would be less bloody.

“Definitely it will be less bloody. Wala naman talaga bloody sa sa tinatrabaho naming since the very beginning,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said on ANC’s Early Edition on Friday.

Earlier this week, Duterte ordered the Philippines National Police , the National Bureau of Investigation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Bureau of Customs and other agencies to leave the implementation of the drug war to the PDEA.

READ:Duterte: PDEA now ‘sole agency’ in charge of drug war

Aquino noted that the PDEA only recorded 28 deaths due to anti-illegal drugs operations for the past year in comparison to the PNP’s more than 3,900 deaths.

The PDEA chief said that the difference in numbers may be attributed to the police conducting more operations.

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Another factor may be the operational procedures, which the police has to review, according to Aquino.

“They should look at what causes problems and why there are always armed encounters during operations,” Aquino, a former police official, said.

Aquino, however, refused to comment on the PNP’s potential lapses in its anti-drugs operations.

“I cannot comment… on what the PNP is doing wrong, but, for us, it’s always we’re doing right,” he said.

Rules of engagement important

The PDEA chief stressed that following the rules of engagement is very important in conducting operations.

The personnel on the ground must always be supervised to prevent them from being “trigger happy” during operations, Aquino said.

“I always tell the personnel that: I want somebody who will be supervising all operations,” Aquino said.

Following Duterte’s memorandum, PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered the termination of all programs related to the drug war, including Oplan Tokhang and Double Barrel.

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