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Philippines police resume 'less bloody' crackdown on drug users

PHILIPPINES police resumed a “less bloody” crackdown on drugs yesterday.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who vowed during his election campaign to pardon himself at the end of his term for “multiple murders,” had twice paused the anti-drugs programme — in which officers visit the homes of suspected dealers and encourage them to reform — because of reported abuses by the police.

But he has restarted the visits, supposedly the friendlier prong in his anti-drugs programme, because the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was not big enough to do the job.

National Police director-general Ronald dela Rosa said there would be stricter safeguards on the visits, with journalists, priests and human rights groups invited along.

He said visits had only turned violent because of the suspects but promised that they would be “less bloody” this time around.

The government says 3,968 drugs suspects have been killed in clashes with police between Mr Duterte taking office in June 2016 and last November, though human rights groups say the number is much higher.


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