Local authorities reported on Wednesday that 32 people, all suspected narco-traffickers, were killed in a single 24-hour period in the Philippines, making it one of the bloodiest days in the “drug war” waged for a year by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a regional police statement, it was reported that state agents killed 32 suspected narco-traffickers and arrested 107 others during a large-scale “drug war” operation carried out between Monday and Tuesday in the Philippine province of Bulacan, just north of Manila.
“During the operation, authorities seized 367 bags of 'shabu' (methamphetamine hydrochloride), 765 grams of marijuana, 2 grenades, 34 guns of various calibers and 114 bullets in a total of 49 raids carried out,” the statement said.
While the 24-hour period from Monday to Tuesday was one of the most violent single days in Duterte's drug war, official data reports that the operations have already caused 3,451 deaths.
The Bulacan police forces justified their actions on the grounds that the murdered suspects were “notorious criminals who prefer to fight to the death rather than being taken alive.” The agents, they said, had “no other choice” than to kill them.
Having continued for one year and been marked by heavy state violence, Duterte's “war on drugs” has been heavily criticized by various international organizations which allege that the President has severely violated human rights. The president has said however that he will continue the campaign regardless to completely eliminate drug trafficking from the Philippines.