• 65,000 drug users and drug pushers have surrendered to the Philippine Government
  • This is the total number recorded since President Rodrigo Duterte launched an intensified anti-drug campaign
  • PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said they are surprised by the influx of surrenderees

Over 65,000 drug users and drug pushers have surrendered to the Philippine government since the intensified campaign against illegal drugs was launched by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an article written by Virgil Lopez and NB of GMA News, it was disclosed by PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to Rappler on Friday, July 15, that it was the latest figure; saying that they are surprised with the number.

“We were surprised by the sudden influx of surrenderees. We didn’t expect…Ganun na pala kalala ang problema natin sa droga [That’s how worse our problem on illegal drugs is],” he said.

Malacañang, on the other hand, has welcomed the development; noting that the voluntary surrender of “self-confessed users and pushers reaffirms our people’s renewed faith and trust in authorities.”

No to extra-judicial killings

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the government has to seize the moment without resorting to extra-judicial methods of anti-criminality operations.

“Government is against any form of extra-judicial killings. We do not condone these acts. Government is here to save our people from the drug menace and punish the offenders, including the big-time ones. The PNP continues to investigate situations involving vigilante killings and operational aspects where deaths are reported,” Andanar noted.

‘A generation was saved’

At present, the campaign against drugs remain “far from perfect” but Andanar noted a generation of Filipinos has been saved from it.

“Many communities are now relatively drug-free with record-high number of people giving up to authorities, choosing quieter and healthier lives,” he said.

In a 2012 study, the Dangerous Drugs Board counted 1.3 million drug users nationwide. Some lawmakers, on the other hand, believe the true figure may be nearer 10 million, or one-tenth of the Philippine population.

Moreover, the U.N. statistics suggest methamphetamine use is more common in the Philippines than in neighboring countries.

Watch Dela Rosa’s interview with Rappler reporter Bea Cupin: