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Aside from the PNP, other agencies that will support PDEA are the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Philippine Postal Office (PhilPost). "It's actually encouraging to note that PDEA is still in the lead and the PNP will only play a supportive role, as well as other law enforcement agencies, because PDEA has the expertise and they are mandated by law to implement R.A. 9165".

The president said he ordered the participation of the PNP anew because of the "notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes committed" since he directed the PDEA to handle the drug problem.

However, the PDEA official admitted that they hope to see PNP leading the war against illegal drugs after observing the extensive drug problem and scope of coverage of operations in the province. "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.

According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, President Duterte gave the green light for the police establishment to backstop PDEA owing to its insufficient manpower and resources to execute the mission.

PHILIPPINES President Rodrigo Duterte has restored the role of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies in the deadly war against drugs, raising fears of resurgence in brutal killings that have victimised mostly poor Filipino drug users. Some said they had been beaten and tortured by police on their arrest, and claimed police had framed them by forcing them to pose in photographs with drugs that had been planted. "It has been the desire of PDEA that PNP will return in the fight against illegal drugs", PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said.

Police say almost 4,000 people have been killed in their anti-drug operations. The decision came as pollster Social Weather Stations revealed its third-quarter report that showed that the popularity of Duterte's illegal drugs campaign had declined since December 2016. "Those responsible, including those who ordered the killings, must be brought to justice". "The country's judiciary and police have proven themselves both unwilling and unable to hold the killers in the "war on drugs" to account", said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

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HRW said the police's return to drug-clearing operations as "wholly unexpected".

"The PDEA remains the lead but the PNP will again participate in the anti-illegal drug operations", he added.

The group is calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes against humanity, citing the increasing number of dead children.

An image of Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte is pictured after it was smeared with paint during a rally against the visit of US President Donald Trump near the US embassy, in Manila, Philippines, on Nov 10, 2017.

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

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