The drug issue is undoubtedly a public health challenge that must be prioritized because it creates complex health and social problems. Under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Philippines undergoes rigorous anti-drug cleansing through the shared efforts of national government agencies, non-government organizations, faith-based groups and the private sector.
In addressing the drug menace, a myriad of strategies need to be put in place and operationalized. The government’s intensified campaign to curb illegal drugs will only succeed if it is carried out on various fronts.
Recognizing the need to set forth a comprehensive and balanced approach to drug demand and drug supply reduction, the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS) has been developed as a blueprint of the government’s strategies and programs in addressing the country’s drug use problem. It is aligned with the President’s priorities and is anchored on the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 sub-goal of ensuring security, public order and safety which indicates that the national anti-illegal drugs strategy includes suppressing the flow of illegal drugs supply through sustained law enforcement operations and reducing consumer demand for drugs and other substances through drug rehabilitation and massive preventive education and awareness programs.
The Anti-Drug Strategy
Drug supply reduction efforts involving aggressive law enforcement and prosecution with strong adherence to the rule of law and observance of human rights, coupled with comprehensive demand reduction initiatives and supported by strong international ties.
Components of the Anti-Drug Strategy
Drug Supply Reduction
Take away drugs from the public through market denial operations and prevention of diversion from the licit to illicit market; and reduce the proliferation of illegal drugs through sustainable alternative development programs.
In order to fully support the government’s anti-drug campaign, the Philippine National Police launched its PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan: Double Barrel. Implemented in a two-pronged approach, this is the centerpiece of PNP’s campaign against illegal drugs. The lower barrel is dubbed as Project Tokhang (ToktokHangyo), a Visayan composite term that stands for knock (Toktok) and plead (Hangyo). The upper barrel, which is the Project HVT (High Value Target), is a sustained anti-illegal drugs police operation that includes buy-busts, service of search and arrests warrants, manhunts, raids, and checkpoints against High Value and Street Level Targets involved in trafficking and selling of illicit drugs.
Another important government initiative is the provision of financial and technical support for the implementation of economically-viable and sustainable alternative development projects. This strengthens the involvement of LGUs, community members, and other concerned agencies in alternative development project implementation. With the aim of reducing and eliminating the illicit cultivation of marijuana, the DDB reaches out by initiating project interventions and encouraging cultivators to engage in alternative livelihood.
The definition of the alternative development program has been expanded to benefit not only former marijuana cultivators but also recovering drug dependents in urban areas.
Another major part of DDB’s plan is to strengthen the reporting mechanism to facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of these alternative development programs supported by the Board through the years.
The Board continually update list of drugs for regulation and monitor drug abuse trends to determine the possible inclusion of new drugs and substances.
Judicial and Legislative Measures
Measures consist of regular reprisal of the judiciary on recent Board regulations and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 or RA 9165. The Board also seek to foster and improve cooperation among pillars of the criminal justice system such as the judiciary, prosecution and law enforcement.
Drug Demand Reduction
Take people away from the lure of drug abuse through policy formulation, preventive education, research, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration; provision of alternative development programs and forging cooperation with regional and international agencies and counterparts.
The Board issued several Board Regulations to respond to the current national drug abuse situation and directives of President Rodrigo Duterte. (See more on Issuances)
Preventive Education and Capacity-building
The Philippines is adopting the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention which stipulates that prevention initiatives should target the various developmental stages and settings.
The DDB has a range of educational programs and services designed to cater to the needs of every sector of society. It has programs that engage the youth, address the needs of parents, and provide employers, educators, health professionals, policymakers, and other sectors with information on the prevention and control of drug use. (See more information on Preventive Education programs)
Treatment, Rehabilitation and Reintegration
As an important facet of drug demand reduction, trends in treatment and rehabilitation as well as issues and concerns that families and recovering drug dependents face during the process are continually monitored. These are integrated into existing health and social agencies to ensure continuum of care. More importantly, services are built on community resources. (See more information on Treatment and Rehabilitation)
Through its Policy Studies, Research and Statistics Division (PSRSD), the DDB conducts research and studies to gather data and analyze trends in drug abuse and trafficking in the country. (See more information on Research and Statistics)