A police anti-narcotics operation in the Philippine province of Bulacan, 24 kilometers from the capital Manila, resulted in the death of 21 suspected drug offenders on Aug. 15.
Authorities said it was the highest death toll in a single day since President Rodrigo Duterte launched an intensified campaign against illegal drugs that has been roundly condemned by church and rights groups.
Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat of the Bulacan police office said the operation involved conducting 26 “buy-bust operations” and the serving of search warrants in various locations that resulted in the arrest of 64 people.
At least 21 assorted firearms and more than 100 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, worth about US$9,800 were recovered from the suspects.
Authorities say at least 3,264 drug offenders have been killed in the past 12 months trying to fight it out with law enforcers.
Some 2,000 others reportedly died in drug-related homicides, including attacks by motorcycle-riding assassins.
National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa last week said the government’s anti-narcotics campaign had contributed to a reduction in crime in the past year.
“The reduction … resulted in the effectiveness of Project Double Barrel as a strategy not only to eliminate the illegal drug trade but to reduce crime across the nation,” said Dela Rosa during a media briefing.
“Project Double Barrel” is the Philippine National Police’s anti-narcotics campaign.
According to the National Police office crime had dropped by 9.8 percent in the past year, however killings rose by 22.75 percent.