Philippine police to start new phase of “war on drugs”

Philippine police to start new phase of “war on drugs”Signaling a shift in strategy in its blood-soaked war against drugs, Philippines police aim to reduce the killing of suspects and put more resources into arresting prominent people tied to the trade, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Project Double Barrel Alpha will put a stronger focus on arresting politicians, military, police, government officials and celebrities allegedly involved in narcotics, the sources said.

The new approach will be outlined on Tuesday at a meeting of police chiefs from each of the Philippines' 18 regions at Camp Crame, the police headquarters north of the capital Manila, Philippines National Police spokesman Dionardo Carlos confirmed to Reuters.

The operation will be launched within days, Carlos said, adding he did not have further details of the new operation.

The meeting comes after what one of the sources familiar with details of the plan described as "intense" discussions among law enforcement officials about the wave of killings of drug suspects.

"We will give emphasis [to] arrests rather than neutralization," said one of the sources.

Asked why the new approach is being taken now, he said: "It is related to the EJK issue. We are doing our best to address that ... It was a collective decision after an intense discussion of the implications of the EJK issue." He did not elaborate on who was involved in the decision-making.

"Neutralization" is a euphemism for the killings that have characterized the anti-drugs drive. EJK refers to extrajudicial killings.

A recent poll showed public unease over the deadly anti-drug campaign, with 94 percent of the respondents saying it was important for the police to take suspects alive.

Another component of Project Double Barrel Alpha will see police working with community leaders to clear neighborhoods of drugs and set up local rehabilitation programs.
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