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Drug suspects killed as police rejoin Philippine crackdown

MANILA >> Philippine police killed eight crime suspects in separate gunbattles and arrested 21 others in a northern province Tuesday, a day after police were allowed to rejoin the president’s deadly anti-drug crackdown while also launching a drive against illegal guns.

Police Senior Superintendent Romeo M. Caramat Jr. said the suspects were killed or arrested in 19 raids in Bulacan province, north of Manila, some of whom turned violent when policemen were fired upon. He said most of the slain suspects had links to illegal drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte angrily banned the national police more than a month ago from enforcing his anti-drug crackdown, which has left thousands of suspects dead, after some antinarcotics officers were implicated in an extortion bid that left a South Korean businessman dead.

National police chief Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa, however, announced Monday that the 170,000-strong police force was being redrafted to enforce the campaign after the police’s brief absence sparked a resurgence in illegal drug trade in many communities.

“We cannot turn our back in this fight because the future of succeeding generations depends on how well we fight the war on drugs today,” Dela Rosa said.

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