Philippine President Duterte Orders Police to Resume Anti-Drug War

Dela Rosa said he had spoken to the governors, the mayors and village officials about the possible return of the police in the war on drugs, who all reportedly called for their return due to the spurt in the drug trade.

The Philippine National Police (PNC) on Monday said they are prepared to resume President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign that was put on hold over graft allegations against the security forces.

But he was forced to change tack after an official investigation found anti-drug officers kidnapped a South Korean businessman late a year ago, then murdered him at the national police headquarters as part of an extortion racket.

"I have ordered Bato [dela Rosa] to recruit young men in the PNP who are imbued with fervor of patriotism to be the members only of the task forces".

"Every [police] station should have one pero 'yung piling-pili (but carefully chosen), 'yung walang mga kaso at walang history ng corruption (especially those who have no case or history of corruption)".

"I have to do it because I lack men".

He said President Rodrigo Duterte has told them to be ready.

Global rights monitor Amnesty International released a report on February 1 warning that the killings in the drug war may amount to a crime against humanity. "We will wait. We will surprise the enemy", he added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will now be involved in the government's "renewed" war on illegal drugs after it signed an agreement making it the campaign's "force provider".

"We have to await proper instructions and guidelines", he said.

"The MOA governs the two parties to synchronize efforts in establishing a national-level intelligence fusion center that will conduct intelligence and counter-intelligence build-up leading to the eventual arrest and conviction of big-time drug lords and suppression of sources of supply of unsafe drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs)", the joint statement between PDEA and AFP read.

The military would also back the agency in building up intelligence and investigating government officials and personnel and influential groups linked to illegal drugs, he said.

At least 13 "high-value" detainees facing drug charges have escaped from a jail in northern Philippines, the latest in a series of prison breaks in the country, according to authorities.

Vanessa Coleman