A TOTAL of 623 people have been killed during anti-illegal drug operations conducted from January to August 2020, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

During the budget hearing for the Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) at the House of Representatives, newly installed PNP Chief Camilo Cascolan reported that from the start of 2020 until August, there have been 50,429 arrested suspects, 2,213 surrenderers, and 623 individuals who have been killed during police operations.

He added that the police confiscated more than P14 billion worth of illicit drugs.

“Ang total amount po ng drugs confiscated ay more or less P14, 537,674,000, ‘yan po ang maikling accomplishment na maihahatid po namin sa inyo,” the PNP chief said.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate asked the police chief for a complete report of the 623 who died amid police operations.

“Kung nanlaban sila mayroon silang mga armas, can we get also an inventory, serial numbers of these guns recovered by the PNP at kung ano pa mang mga kagamitan na na-recover nila during these police operations which resulted in the killing of 623 personalities,” Zarate said.

Cascolan vowed to provide the complete records of the PNP, including the weapons recovered from previous operations.

“Sa atin pong mahal na Congressman, kung maaari po ay maibigay ko po sa inyo ang listahan dahil hindi ko dala po ngayon ‘yung kabuuan ng report na ito,” he said.

On June 4, 2020, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) reported that 8,663 people have been killed since the government launched its campaign against illegal drugs in 2016.

The UNCHR has also said that, between 2015 and 2019, at least 248 human rights defenders, legal professionals, journalists and trade unionists in the Philippines have been killed in relation to their work.

From its P244,309,293 budget proposal for 2021, the DILG seeks to allot at least P190, 519, 416 to the national police for the construction of 14 police stations, creation of 1,000 patrolman/woman positions, and the procurement of 550 motor vehicles, 5,000 short firearms, and 10,000 long firearms. (SunStar Philippines)