Metro Manila – Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has finally spoken up about her findings and recommendations on the Duterte administration’s drug war, baring that authorities have seized less than one percent of shabu since 2016.
In a press briefing on Monday, Robredo said the government failed in its narcotics campaign with a measly score of 1 over 100, with the way it implemented the narcotics campaign since President Rodrigo Duterte took office.
“Isipin na lang natin kung exam ito, ang magiging score ng ating pamahalaan ay 1 over 100,” Robredo said.
[Translation: If this were an exam, our government would only have a score of 1 over 100.]
“Failure talaga siya, dahil ‘yung kampanya sa droga, maraming aspeto. Masyadong tinutukan ‘yung street-level enforcement,” she said.
[Translation: The anti-drug campaign really was a failure. There are a lot of aspects. They focused on street-level enforcement.]
Robredo, who co-chaired the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) for less than three weeks, cited official data from various government agencies, implying that drugs continued to proliferate not just in small communities, but also among big drug networks.
“Kung gusto talaga nating tapusin ang salot ng mga iligal na droga, mga malaking supplier at hindi lang ang maliit na pusher ang kailangan nating habulin,” she said.
[Translation: If we really want to put an end to illegal drugs, we should go after the big suppliers instead of the small drug pushers.]
“Sa kabila ng lahat ng Pilipinong pinatay at lahat ng perang ginasta, hindi lumampas sa 1 percent ang naipit natin sa suplay ng shabu at sa perang kinita mula sa droga,” she said.
[Translation: In spite of all the Filipinos who were killed and all the money spent by the government, we only seized less than 1 percent in supply of shabu and money involved in illegal drugs.]
Records from the Philippine National Police (PNP) would show that of 3,000 kilograms of shabu consumed per week worth ₱25 billion, but the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) only seized 1,344 kilos from in 2019 alone, Robredo added.
“Bilyun-bilyong piso ang katumbas ng ganitong droga. Ayon sa datos ng PNP, ₱1.3 trillion ang halaga ng umiikot na shabu kada taon,” she said.
[Translation: These drugs cost billions of pesos. PNP even said that the cost of shabu had reached ₱1.3 trillion per year.]
Official government data also shows that only ₱1.4 billion worth of assets linked to illegal drugs were frozen from 2017 to 2018, Robredo said. This is less than one percent of total drug money circulating in the narcotics trade.
DDB should lead anti-drug campaign
Robredo noted that instead of the PDEA, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), which focuses on anti-drug policies, should have chaired the campaign, since it has a wider perspective about the country’s drug problem.
“‘Pag PDEA kasi, law enforcement. Yun siguro yung isang failure ng ICAD, na yung chairmanship niya binigay niya sa PDEA…Kung DDB, ang tingin namin, yung perspektibo mas malawak, mas strategic yung pagplano ng programa.”
[Translation: PDEA focuses on law enforcement. Perhaps that was the failure of ICAD, the chairmanship was given to PDEA. If DDB, we think, it has a wider perspective, a better strategy in planning the program.]
Right after her appointment in November 2019, Robredo met with United Nations and United States officials, several national and local government bodies, and members of the private sector and religious groups to discuss how to improve the country’s drug campaign.
However, Duterte sacked her 18 days into the job, claiming that Robredo’s connivance with the US delegation was a “misstep” for supposedly putting the state’s security at risk considering she is an opposition leader.
“Kahit tinanggal na ‘ko sa posisyon, ipagpapatuloy ko ang trabaho, maliit man ang budget at maliit man ang ating opisina,” Robredo said.
[Translation: Even if I was sacked from my post, I will continue my job, whether the budget of my office is big or small.]
The Vice President said she will submit a “private letter” containing her initial findings to the President to bare more discoveries about the narcotics campaign.
Source: This article was originally published in CNN Philippines by Glee Jalea
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