DAVAO: Seven people were shot dead on Friday in a massive operation against illegal drug dens by police in the southern Philippines, law-enforcement officials said.
Thirty-six people including a South Korean national were arrested in the raid on 26 houses believed to be selling the banned drug methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as "ice" or "shabu", said Emerson Rosales, the regional chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
About 200 police and other lawmen took part in the biggest anti-drugs operation this year, he added.
Thirteen firearms, assorted explosives and banned drugs were also seized in the raid on the major trading city of Davao, he added.
"This part of town is notorious for drug pushers and many of them are armed," Rosales said.
He defended the high number of fatalities, saying the suspects tried to shoot back.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, the area's police spokeswoman, said representatives from the Justice Department, the local government and even major TV broadcasters had accompanied the raiding teams and would have noticed any abuses.
In the past, Philippine police have been accused of illegally "rubbing-out" suspects and then saying they were killed while resisting arrest.
In July, two policemen were charged for killing two gangsters in their custody while 14 others were charged with trying to cover up their crime. (AFP)