Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown on drug peddlers and users has hit capital Manila killing as many as 25 suspects within a day. The killings come just hours after 32 people died in the nearby Bulacan province during the police's anti-drug operations.
The Southeast Asian nation has been witnessing a bloody war against drug pushers under Duterte, who has pledged to wipe out those involved in the illegal narcotics trade. His apparent disregard for human rights violations has shocked rights groups, who have been calling for him to tone down his deadly crackdown.
The police have revealed that at least 25 people were killed in several anti-drug raids in Manila in less than 24 hours preceding Thursday, 17 August. While 14 of those killed were engaged in drug trade, 11 others are thought to have had a hand in various robberies, police said.
"Ten of 11 police stations of Manila contributed to these achievements in 24 hours. These results were products of our one-time-big-time raids. In fact, our policemen are now looking for two drug users who were the cause of the fire in San Miguel Street," said Chief Superintendent Joel Napoleon Coronel.
Dozens of others involved in human trafficking and murder have also been arrested by the police in the drug-related crackdown. In total, more than 40 anti-crime operations have been carried out by the Manila police overnight.
"Out of 1.7 million residents of Manila, some 300,000 of them are into illegal drugs. So far, 24 barangay are now drug-free and we hope to add more and have at least 100 villages drug-free by end of the year," added the police chief.
Only on Wednesday, Duterte had praised the raids conducted by law enforcement agencies and added that his government was determined to press on with the killings if that was necessary to strengthen the Philippines.