House Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu (2nd District, Batangas) lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s all-out war against illegal drugs, citing the substantial drop in the drug market and the crime rate.
Speaking before the 13th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Fact-Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) to Combat the Drug Menace, Abu, head of the Philippine delegation, said less than a year since President Duterte assumed office, the government has dismantled nine illegal drugs laboratories, seized about P13 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), and sequestered around P19 billion worth of non-drug evidence.
Abu further said that as a result of the President’s unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs, more than 1.3 million drug users have voluntarily surrendered and are currently undergoing rehabilitation and reintegration in the community.
“From July 1, 2016 to June 13, 2017, the government has dismantled nine clandestine laboratories, confiscated 2.429.09 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) with an estimated value of 12.49 billion pesos, and seized 18.40 billion pesos worth of non-drug evidence,” Abu said.
After 62,751 anti-illegal drug operations conducted and the voluntary surrender of at least 1,306,389 drug users, Abu said the crime rate has decreased by 28.57 percent.
The Batangas lawmaker commended the President for his political will which the chief executive showed when he named police officers, politicians, judges and other government officials who are reportedly protectors of illicit drugs or members of drug syndicates themselves.
He explained that among the gravest threats posed by the proliferation of illegal drugs are the corruption of public officials and the breakdown of social institutions.
Abu also cited the link between illicit drugs and terrorism, pointing out the seizure of more than P200 million worth of shabu during the government military operations against insurgent groups in Mindanao.
Abu also mentioned the collusion between drug lords and law enforcers, citing the investigation conducted by the House of Representatives on the activities of the drug syndicates in the National Penitentiary, where the drug lords themselves admitted that the unabated illegal drugs transaction inside the prison is due to collusion with prison guards and officials of the Department of Justice.
During his presentation, Abu underscored that the Duterte administration “has transformed the drive against illegal drugs from a mere law enforcement concern, to a full-blown, multi-agency and community-based illegal drug eradication program.”
“This (war on drugs) consists of intelligence activities, drug prevention and public information campaigns as well as victim rehabilitation and community re-assimilation efforts,” he pointed out.
Abu lauded the Duterte administration for establishing drug rehabilitation centers in various regions of the country, describing it as one of the most important programs carried out by the government relative to its anti-drugs campaign.
He called on ASEAN countries to work together “to streamline laws that will address criminality, enhance law enforcement, strengthen border control and facilitate joint maritime and coastal security cooperation.”
Citing the transnational nature of drug trafficking, Abu said cooperation among the countries in Southeast Asia can greatly contribute in battling drug use and trafficking in the region.