Death toll in Manila anti-crime raid soars to 34

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Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has vowed to further strengthen his special program Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) to keep the youth away from the clutches of illegal drugs at an early age.

The drug menace and criminality, Estrada said, remain as serious threats to the stability of the country and of the City of Manila as evidenced by the rising number of crime suspects neutralized and arrested by the Manila Police District (MPD) in its continuing anti-crime sweep in the nation’s capital since Wednesday night.

At least nine more crime suspects have died after shooting it out with police operatives from 7 am of Thursday to 7 am this morning, bringing the death toll of the so-called “one-time, big-time operation” to 34.

Nine firearms and 31 sachets of shabu were also confiscated from the slain suspects. In other raids, 30 more persons facing various criminal offenses were arrested and additional 45 sachets of shabu were seized.

“All those deaths could have been prevented had we properly educated those suspects against the evils of drugs and crimes when they were young,” the Manila mayor said, admitting that it pains him that they chose to fight it out with the lawmen that resulted to their deaths.

“This is another reason we have to further strengthen the implementation of our DARE program. We don’t want any more bloodshed if we could help it,” Estrada pointed out.