PHILIPPINE law enforcement in the Metro Manila City of San Juan may have made the largest drug bust yet in the nation’s ongoing war on drugs on Friday, December 23.
Agents from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) collected 560 kg of what they believe to be shabu, or methamphetamine, more than the total amount seized in police operations for all of 2015. Police arrested three Filipinos and three either Chinese or Taiwanese nationals, according to law enforcement officials.
“We have been watching the house for more than a month after an informant came to authorities, telling us about the illegal drugs trade in the area,” Eastern Police District chief Romulo Sapitula told Reuters on Friday.
In November, Philippine authorities had sought four Chinese nationals in connection with the discovery of a methamphetamine lab in Pampanga. It was the fifth drug production facility in that region shut down by police this year, some of which were capable of producing hundreds of pounds of illicit product a day.
Foreign involvement in the Philippines’ illegal drug trade has prompted condemnation from officials in Manila.
Amidst a warming of ties between the Philippines and China, Beijing has provided the Island nation with considerable material and financial support for its efforts to stamp out the underground drug trade.
On Monday, December 19, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua offered Philippines security forces a gift of over $14 million worth of arms and other hardware during a conversation with Duterte. The Chinese government is also making $500 million in soft loans available for the purchase of more equipment.
Meanwhile, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and White House officials have consistently voiced concerns regarding alleged human rights abuses committed in connection with the Philippines’ crackdown on crime.
Since July, nearly 6,000 deaths have been linked to the country’s war on drugs according to statistics released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, December 12.