President Duterte launched an intensified campaign against illegal drugs in July 2016. From July 2016 to October 2017, the Philippine National Police assumed the lead role in anti-drug operations.
The Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign received strong public criticism because of several killings allegedly committed by the police during anti-drug operations. Some of these were the cases of teenagers, Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz. These events led to the President’s signing of a memorandum, on Oct. 10, which assigned the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the sole agency in conducting anti-drug operations.
Sixteen months into the illegal drugs campaign, illegal drugs continue to proliferate nationwide. There are news reports about drug-related crimes almost every day. Recently, a 23-year-old bank employee was raped and killed in Pasig City. A couple working as fast food chain employees were found floating on the waters off the coast of the towns of Orion and Pilar in Bataan; and worse, the woman was allegedly sexually abused before getting killed. Even in my province, Quezon, there have been similar cases. In Lucena City, a a teenage saleslady at a boutique was stabbed in the body and face, including in the eye. I condemn all of these drug-related crimes.
Most Filipinos never realized the gravity of the illegal drug problem in the country until this administration revealed it to us and took significant measures in trying to eradicate illegal drugs. In 2012, the United Nations released a World Drug Report, where the Philippines recorded the highest rate of “shabu” use in East Asia. The Aquino administration seemed to have neglected this report as the problem of illegal drugs worsened during their six-year term. The illegal drugs in the country would not have been syndicated if not of the cooperation of the police and local government officials. Hence, despite the intensified campaign against illegal drugs of the current administration, drug syndicates continue to exist and destroy our nation.
While the PDEA is doing its best to eradicate illegal drugs, the President is ready to reassign the lead role of the anti-drug campaigns to the PNP, should the illegal drug problem worsen in the next few months.
According to the President, he will put corrupt government officials behind bars. But now I challenge the President to go after the big drug syndicates, players, and protectors of illegal drugs, particularly those in the PNP and in the local government.