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Roque, reading from an order issued by Duterte, said the PDEA "has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by the lack of resources specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug infested areas".

Other law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Postal Corporation were also directed to provide support to the PDEA in the conduct of the anti-narcotics campaign.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque explained that "active support" means the PNP can "participate" in the campaign and that it will have to "consult" the PDEA on anti-drug operations.

Carlos said that since the start of the campaign, the PNP has been working in support of the PDEA and operated with prior coordination with the agency. "The Dangerous Drugs Board shall remain as the policy-making and strategy formulating body in the planning and formulation of policies and programs on drug prevention and control", Roque said.

Philippine police on Tuesday were ordered to rejoin the war on drugs, overturning President Duterte's decision two months ago to leave the campaign in the hands of the government's anti-drug agency.

Up to 60 children have been killed by police since Duterte launched the crackdown on suspected drug dealers and users in June 2016, according to a report released Monday by Amnesty International.

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Because of the order announced Tuesday, the police can now join anti-drug raids but have to coordinate their actions with the PDEA.

Asked if the PDEA is doing a better job when it comes to the drug war, De Guia answered: "There were fewer reported deaths when PDEA was taking the lead in the campaign against drugs and it also highlights that RA 9165 really puts PDEA at the forefront of implementing RA 9165". "These are the only (units) allowed to conduct anti-drug operation", he added.

He said the PDEA still needed the assistance of the police and the military, especially in operations involving big drug lords.

Human rights groups, however, estimate the drug war death toll at more than 10,000, a figure the government says is overblown. "May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings!" the statement said. Supreme Court Justice Chief Maria Lourdes Sereno said there was a day where 32 drug suspects were killed in one province in nine hours and a similar number killed in one city, with Duterte being quoted as saying it was a good result that should happen every day.

He said the president's restoration of the police in the drugs war may have also been emboldened by the unwillingness of either US President Donald Trump or fellow Asean leaders to publicly challenge the drug war slaughter during the Asean 2017 Summit, which the Philippines hosted in November.

Duterte said at the time the police force was "corrupt to the core".


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