PNP: No more separate budget for drug war's Oplan Double Barrel

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — The separate budget for the Philippine National Police's drive against high-value targets in the drug watchlist will be scrapped for 2019, police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said.

He clarified that Oplan Double Barrel will still be part of police operations, but it will be taken from maintenance and other operating expenses from the PNP's 2019 budget.

"It's just a name whether we give it an Oplan Double Barrel or not, it's a campaign against illegal drugs. Binibigyan lang natin ng pangalan para mabigyan ng emphasis," Albayalde said on Wednesday.

In 2018, the PNP received P900 million for the anti-drug operation project, which was realigned to the National Housing Authority.

Oplan Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang — a knock-and-plead approach to arresting drug suspects — are the PNP's primary programs on President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war against drugs.

Government data show more than 4,000 'drug personalities' have been killed in anti-drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July 2016, while more than 23,000 homicide cases — many of them suspected to be drug-related — are still being investigated.

PNP reported a lower number of drug war-linked deaths in 2018. It said government agencies' accumulated data showed that from an average of 100 deaths per week, the anti-drug campaign death toll was down to 23 cases per week.

PNP Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Bong Durana previously said this is a new low for police operations, as statistics from March to October 2017 showed an average of 39 deaths weekly.

"During the first three months (of the campaign), there's an average of 100 deaths weekly. So we adjusted our campaign," he said on August 17.