VERA FILES FACT CHECK: 3 years into drug war, Duterte again revises drug addict count

As the current administration inches closer to its midterm mark, President Rodrigo Duterte has yet again revised his count on the number of Filipinos addicted to drugs.

In his speech during a thanksgiving dinner for senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go in Davao City on May 24, Duterte again cited these two figures:

Official records do not bear out his claim.

A DDB survey released in 2016, the latest study on the extent of drug use in the Philippines, shows there are 1.8 million “current” drug users, pertaining to those who have used “addictive drugs” from Jan. 1, 2015 to Feb. 5, 2016, in the entire country.

The Philippine National Police in December 2017 referred to 1.26 million drug personalities as surrenderees in the government’s war on drugs. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: How many drug addicts are there in PH? Let Duterte do the counting)

But early this year, Duterte added another variation to his ever changing estimates; he had claimed the 3-million and 1.6-million figures only covered Metro Manila, and said the nationwide total was actually at 7 to 8 million drug addicts.

Watch this video.


Presidential Communications Operations Office, President Rodrigo Duterte, Speech during the thanksgiving dinner in Davao City, May 24, 2019, watch from 32:37 to 35:59

Dangerous Drugs Board, 2015 Nationwide Survey On the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in the Philippines, 2016

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)