Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday took a swipe at Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Aaron Aquino, who said he was better off leading the war on drugs without her.
She said Aquino even asked her to stay as co-chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs.
“He told me, ‘ma’am, don’t leave us.
Don’t leave us because there have been too many actions when you are here.’ He said, it is difficult those at the agency since I am just an undersecretary,” she also quoted Aquino as saying.
“He is saying now that my assistance is not significant as if he just preferred to be on his own,” she added.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo as ICAD co-chairperson, but fired her after three weeks.
“So I told him I will not leave them unless if I am removed. I assured him that I will not resign unless if I am fired. So that’s it. Two days after, I was sacked,” Robredo said.
“My point here is, why is he saying a different thing in front of me and the media? There were too many others who heard him say those things,” she added.
The vice president expressed her disappointment over the PDEA chief, saying “director general Aquino is from the Philippine Military Academy.”
“All the while, I was expecting that if you are a PMA-er, officer, you are a gentleman. How many times have he said the opposite thing in front of me and the media,” she said.
In a related development, the Dangerous Drugs Board vowed to sustain accomplishments and gains of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy.
With Duterte’s issuance of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy the DDB took different initiatives to prevent and control drug abuse on a “whole-of-nation approach” on drug abuse prevention and control.
PADS is the blueprint that prescribes how the government and all sectors should work together in cutting the supply of and demand for illegal drugs.
As of November this year, 54 government agencies have already submitted their action plans and have committed to implement drug prevention and control programs.
“For instance, the Department of Labor and Employment has committed to conduct compliance inspection of companies in relation to the drug-free workplace policy. The department also included in their action plan the inclusion of drug prevention in the occupational safety and health training and orientation courses. Funds for these activities were also included in their proposed 2020 agency budget,” the DDB said in an official statement.
From January, agencies have been working on fulfilling their commitments and implementing their action plans, such as the Philippine Statistics Authority with an item in their action plan identifying their duty to review the design and methodology of the nationwide household survey to determine the nature and extent of the country’s drug abuse problem.
Various government offices have responded to the call with 20 agencies submitting their own drug-free workplace policy and 45 agencies with submitting drug-free workplace program.
In partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Local Government Academy, a module on PADS was integrated in the orientation course for newly elected local government officials.
A total of 1,423 local chief executives were oriented on their role in addressing the problem on illegal drugs.
Under PADS, local government units are given the responsibility to ensure that people who use drugs (PWUDs) are given appropriate interventions.
As of Sept. 30, out of the 1,634 cities and municipalities, 992 LGUs are able to implement community-based rehabilitation programs benefitting 178,353 individuals. Last November, the DDB has transferred P4 million to the Technical Education Skills Development Authority for livelihood assistance and provision of skills training to recovering drug users enrolled in community-based treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Based on a report from TESDA, as of September 2019, 11,291 surrenderees have enrolled in TESDA programs and more than 9,000 have already graduated.
In partnership with the Supreme Court and the Philippine Judicial Academy, representatives from the executive, legislative and the judiciary have convened in October for a national summit on the dangerous drugs law.
DDB chairperson Catalino Cuy said he believes that the vision of having drug-free communities will soon be realized.