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August 6, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 288 views

THE Philippine National Police headed by General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. have expressed confidence anew it is winning the war against illegal drug trafficking and abuse in the country since the start of the administration of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr. in July 2022.

The top cop particularly cited the major gains that the police force, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement units nationwide have made in waging a battle against illegal narcotics over past 12 months.

“At the rate PNP anti-illegal drug operations are getting underway, I can confidently say that the whole of government is winning the national campaign against illegal drugs,”Gen. Acorda said.

Major anti-drug accomplishments have been scored by the year-old Marcos administration form July 1, 2022 to date mid the enhanced partnership between the PNP, the PDEA and other LEAs including the Bureau of Customs,.

Both Gen. Acorda and PDEA chair, Director General Moro Virgilio M. Lazo have also expressed their major resolve to turn The Philippines into a ‘drug-free country’ by going all-out against illegal drug trafficking and abuse, with focus on the rehabilitation of drug dependents.

PDEA records showed that from July 1, 2022 to June 30 this year, a total of 27,485 barangays in the country have already been declared as ‘drug-cleared’ while another 8,071 are still being subjected to drug-clearing operations after being tagged as ‘drug-affected.’

Gen. Acorda said he is in a mission to ‘save drug users and go after big-time narcotics distributors or the so-called ‘high-value targets.’ However, the PNP chief said they need all the help they can get from local government units, the different national government agencies and the community in their effort to maintain a ‘drug-free community’ starting from the workplace and every Filipino household.

The PNP and the PDEA have closely partnered to arrest illegal drug activities in the country since the Agency was created in 2002. Since then, both agencies have accounted for most of the illegal drugs seized under the previous Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte administrations in succession.

Director General Lazo said that over the past 12 months, government anti-narcotics agents have seized some P22.74 billion worth of shabu and other illegal substance.

The official said that during the period, the PDEA, the PNP and other law enforcement agencies in the country combined to account for more than three tons of tons of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine,’ 19.51 kilograms of cocaine, 43,939 pieces of the designer drug called ‘Ecstasy’ and nearly 2.612 tons of dried marijuana leaves.

The PDEA chief said that the period also saw the arrest of 3,556 ‘high-value targets as well as 53,286 other drug personalities as a result of 38,439 anti-drug operations.

The arrested suspects are now facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 ro the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Director General Lazo said that 586 secret drug dens and one clandestine drug laboratory were also dismantled by government agents during the period as a result of the stepped-up war on illegal drugs ordered by President Bongbong Marcos.

According to PNP Public Information Office chief, Brigadier Gen. Redrico A. Maranan, the supply reduction strategy in the national anti-illegal drugs campaign implemented by the police force has succeeded in breaking the backbone of the drug distribution network in the country through aggressive interdiction operations against drug trafficking syndicates and street-level drug pushers.

Maranan said that the more significant milestones in the anti-drug campaign are shown in the results of anti-narcotics operations conducted by the police force since July 2022.

From January 1 to last May 19, 2023 alone, police hauled to jail a total of 23,395 drug personalities following the conduct of 17,668 anti-narcotics operations which led in the confiscation of an estimated P4.76 billion.

From July 2022 until April 2023, the police force accounted for that posted an arrest record of 44,866 drug personalities, among them, 3,169 ‘HVTs.’

Brig. Gen. Maranan said that the arrests were made as a result of 32,225 anti-illegal drugs operations which led in the seizure of some P21.72 billion worth of hsabu and other illegal drugs.

The same effort further led to the ‘liberation’ of 27,206 more barangay from the clutches of drug abuse, thus, leaving only 8,332 remaining drug-affected barangay among the country’s 42,027 barangay.

“ From all indications, in terms of operational accomplishments in reducing the drug supply and cutting off the drug trafficking network, we can confidently declare that the PNP is winning the war against illegal drugs,” the official said.

“It should be understood that there is no perfect or single measure to assess the anti-drug campaign due to the complexity and ambiguity of the drug problem. Instead we are relying on the combination of different methodologies and assorted data in order to have a picture of drug affectation of every barangay. Based on statistics, especially on the number of drug-cleared barangays, we have made significant headway in the overall effort,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Maranan likewise explained that the demand reduction side of the anti-drug campaign is one aspect that we need to work on double time on a whole-of-nation scale to bring together the entire complement of family, community, church, school, workplace, and government towards a common goal of a drug-free country.

“Law enforcement and the justice system can only establish the certainty of punishment to discourage drug offenders. Still, there are some other underlying factors leading to drug abuse such as family relations, peer pressure, and personal needs and wants can come into play,” he said.

Gen. Acorda has ordered his men to go after top drug personalities across the country amid their intensified crackdown on illegal drug trafficking and abuse.

The PNP chief also said that police units nationwide continue to operations against big-time drug pushers and street-level drug personalities.

The PNP Drug Enforcement Group now headed by Colonel Dionisio B. Bartolome Jr. and the Regional and Provincial Drug Enforcement Units of the 17 Police Regional Offices and their respective Provincial, City and Municipal DEUs are tasked to go after known big-time drug traffickers and other ‘high-value targets’ in the country.

Gen. Acorda has vowed to sustain the PNP’s massive anti-illegal drugs campaign and internal cleansing program as he cited the force’s success in accounting for nearly P6 billion worth of shabu and other prohibited substances since the year started.

“We will continue to be aggressive in all our operations against big- time drug personalities or High-value Individuals (HVIs),” he emphasized.

“All this shows the PNP’s strong commitment to slow down if not put an end to the illegal drug trade. Under my leadership, I will assure the public that the PNP will remain steadfast in its commitment to protect the Filipino people and rid the country of the drug menace. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our communities are safe and secure,” Gen. Acorda added.

The PNP chief maintained that their efforts have been highly effective in ensuring that those involved in illegal drugs are brought to justice. The top cop also underscored the need to address the root causes of illegal drug use in the country thru an honest-to-goodness demand reduction and rehabilitation.

He said they are also fully supporting President Marcoses’ commitment to continue the crackdown on illegal drugs but within the framework of the law and with respect for human rights.

The Commander-in-Chief has maintained the need to focus on the aspect of rehabilitation and socio-economic development of drug patients.