President Rodrigo Duterte has tasked all government agencies to take an “active role” in his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, stressing that it has evolved into a national security problem.
Issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Nov. 12, Memorandum Circular 53 orders all government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and state universities and colleges to “immediately mobilize their assets and take an active role in the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, in accordance with their respective mandates.”
“It is the policy of the State to pursue an effective campaign against trafficking and use of dangerous drugs through an integrated system of planning, implementation, and enforcement of anti-illegal drug abuse policies, programs, and projects,” the circular read.
According to the order, the drug menace in the country continues to degrade the moral fiber of society, undermining the rule of law and has evolved as a national security problem.
The circular also cited laws and previous issuances of the President in relation to strengthen the Duterte administration’s centerpiece program, including Executive Order 66 which institutionalized the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy.
The PADS, which was signed by the President last month, “outlines the balanced efforts of the government to strengthen its campaign against prohibited drugs and their precursors, and contribute to international efforts to counter the worldwide illegal drug problem.”
Duterte has designated the Dangerous Drugs Board as the lead agency to lead the implementation of PADS.
The President also directed government agencies, including state-run corporations, colleges, and universities to formulate and submit to the DDB their respective operational plans to participate with the implementation of PADS.
The EO also directs all government entities and local government units to implement a drug-free workplace program and authorized drug testing among its officials and personnel.
In his third State of the Nation Address on July 24, Duterte has vowed a “relentless and chilling” war on drugs.a