At least 32 people have been killed in a series of anti-drug operations near the Philippines capital of Manila. The raids were part of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
The operations from Monday (14 August) to Tuesday were reportedly the bloodiest raids in the country since the war on drugs began. It happened days after a city mayor, who was among the politicians Duterte publicly linked to illegal drugs, was killed. Thirteen other people were also shot along with Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. of Ozamiz city in the anti-drug crackdown on 30 July.
Senior police superintendent Romeo Caramat confirmed the latest raids on Wednesday, saying 67 police operations were carried out in several parts of Bulacan province, which led to the arrest of 109 people.
Several drug suspects have either been killed or arrested in recent months in Bulacan, which is a province of about 3.3 million people and lies north of Manila, the Guardian reported.
Police records also stated that more than 200gm of methamphetamine, 786gm of marijuana, assorted firearms, grenades and ammunition were seized in the recent raids.
The war on drugs has been active in the country ever since Duterte came to power in June 2016. He has pledged to completely end the drug crimes.
Over 3,200 alleged drug offenders have been killed in gun battles with law enforcement officials since 2016. And, more than 2,000 people have died in drug-related homicides, including attacks by motorcycle-riding masked gunmen, according to recent reports.
Western governments and human rights groups have widely criticised the killings and have called for an end to what they suspect are extrajudicial murders related to the anti-drug campaign.
Despite the criticism, the Filipino leader remains widely popular in the Philippines and vows to not stop until the last drug trafficker is killed.