The Department of Interior and Local Government is set to launch a new campaign using what it described as a “whole-of-nation” approach against the trafficking of illegal substances to bring to justice the people behind the drug menace.
“We must harness the support of the grassroots, the schools, the community, the church, everyone. And that’s what we intend to do in our fight against illegal drugs,” said Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr.
Abalos did not divulge the details of the campaign, but underscored that to control the spread of illegal drugs, a collective government effort must be applied to identify and cut the roots of the problem such as poverty, criminality, and other social ills.
The announcement came a few days after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said his administration will “refocus” the war on drugs to include the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.
“The war on drugs will continue but we have to do it in a different way,” the President said in a television interview on Tuesday. “Even as we speak, there is a working group putting together (the revisions) we are trying to formulate how, what is the latest and what’s the best way for the rehabilitation.”
Mr. Marcos said the working group is looking for “the upstream of the problem, the prevention.”
In July, the DILG chief put a spotlight on the effective mechanisms in addressing the issues of illegal drugs, adding that the role of witnesses in assisting cases should be given more importance.
Abalos mentioned that for most cases, investigations are deterred, as there are no witnesses to backstop the cases.
The former Mandaluyong City mayor said that for every illegal drug stash confiscated, there should be at least threewitnesses: representatives from the media, the Department of Justice, and barangay officials.
The Interior chief committed to sustaining the gains of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, filling the gaps to improve policies in other major programs of his agency, and “bring people power against social ills.”
Earlier, Mr. Marcos said the anti-drug working group is looking for “the upstream of the problem, the prevention.”
“These are all being formulated. And then even on the enforcement side, I’d like to formulate that one,” the President said, noting the drug war was not mentioned in his first State of the Nation Address as “it is an internal matter.”
Mr. Marcos earlier directed Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to come up with policies that would ensure the anti-narcotics campaign is compliant with the law.
Azurin ordered an audit of the drug situation in the country, focusing on areas where prominent drug personalities were killed.
He also sought a partnership between the PNP and other government agencies to ensure that the drug supply chain in the country would be “reduced, if not cut totally.”