Newly-appointed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Wilkins Villanueva on Wednesday said he plans to implement a new protocol on the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
"Una, malaking challenge sa amin kasi magkakaroon kami ng bagong [First, the big challenge is for us to have a new] protocol on how to conduct anti-drug operations. Unahin muna namin 'yung walang Covid-19 [We will prioritize the areas with no Covid-19 cases]," Villanueva said in a radio interview.
He said that before conducting an operation, the agency will check first if the areas with drug personalities have Covid-19 cases.
To assure the safety of conducting an investigation, PDEA would first assess by identifying the targets.
"Delikado din mga agents, baka mamaya may positive doon [Our agents could be in danger, we don't know if there are positive cases there]," he added.
Villanueva said PDEA agents would undergo necessary training for anti-drug operations amid the 'new normal' situation.
Meanwhile, Villanueva said he already talked to his predecessor Aaron Aquino to discuss matters on the agency's operations.
Before his appointment to PDEA's top post, Villanueva served as itsregional director in Northern Mindanao and National Capital Region. He also served at the Bureau of Customs-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service.
Villanueva also warned drug personalities to stop their illegal acts especially in this time of health crisis.
On Tuesday, Villanueva himself confirmed his appointment by sharing a copy of his appointment paper on his official Facebook account.
Both Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed Villanueva's appointment.
Aquino, meanwhile, was appointed as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Clark International Airport Corporation.