Asia-Pacific

Manila rates Duterte drug war a success

The Philippine government says President Rodrigo's bloody war on drugs has been a success.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's aggressive campaign against illegal drugs has been a success despite widespread criticism over the high death toll, the government says, as it marks his first year in office.

Human rights groups, international organisations and some foreign governments have criticised Duterte's anti-drug war, which has left thousands of drug suspects dead since he took office last year.

But Isidro Lapena, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said the campaign had achieved a lot of positive results, with many Filipinos rating the drive as "excellent" in various nationwide surveys.

"I would say we are successful," he told a press conference. "In the surveys, people also say they feel safer. I am happy to report that we have done so much, (but) so much more has to be done."

In Duterte's first year in office, at least 3,171 drug suspects were killed in police operations, while more than 1.3 million drug users or pushers surrendered, Lapena said.

Police are investigating the deaths of more than 10,000 other people to determine if their murder was related to illegal drugs.

Amnesty International assailed Duterte for creating a "climate of lawlessness" and explicitly approving violence that has led to the deaths of thousands, contrary to his promise to rid the Philippines of crime.

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