Drug dealers return to the Philippine slums just weeks after President Rodrigo Duerte pulls police out of his bloody war on drugs. The boost in the drug business raises the question of just how effective the narcotics crackdown has been. Eve Johnson reports.
Despite a bloody war on drugs that's has killed thousands, crystal meth dealers are back on the streets of the Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered police to stand down from the anti-narcotics campaign three weeks ago. In that time, the trade in meth - or shabu as it's known here - has returned from the shadows. (SOUNDBITE) (English/Filipino) QUEZON CITY POLICE DISTRICT CHIEF, GUILLERMO ELEAZAR, SAYING: "We received reports that drug use has really returned as well as the drug trade because they know that we are prevented now from engaging in planned police operations." Anti-narcotics experts say they won't be surprised if the drug war fails and that ruthless operations like Duterte's haven't worked in other countries. The supply of drugs may be pinched but demand doesn't go away. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) UNIDENTIFIED DRUG USER SAYING: "The campaign has had an impact. There were killings, so we had to be extra careful. We have to move quietly. Be really careful." Duterte has handed the anti-narcotics campaign over to the Philippines' much smaller drug enforcement agency, but police are now pushing to get back in. The country's popular police chief this week saying the longer police are kept out of the fight the worse things are getting. Duterte says he's considering the idea.