The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) held its 1st Board Meeting for the year on January 24, presided by the newly-appointed DDB Chairman, Secretary Catalino S. Cuy.

In attendance were representatives from member agencies including Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Secretary Cuy highlighted the agency’s priorities for 2018. This includes the finalization of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS), conduct of studies to measure the impact of programs, and continued implementation of capacity-building programs for different sectors.

During the meeting, DDB Executive Director, Undersecretary Earl P. Saavedra, reported that the Board exceeded its targets for 2017. He mentioned the accomplishments made by the agency including the approval of 682 Board Regulations, conduct of 32 advocacy programs and information services, and training of 6, 905 individuals.

The Board also discussed and approved proposals from Department of Health on the referral system in accessing health care services for Persons who Used Drugs (PWUDs) and Voluntary Pathways to access community-based recovery facilities and primary care services. DOH was also authorized to review community-based programs according to the minimum standards of care, adherence to policies of patient’s rights and other established guidelines.

Board Members also agreed to include isomers and salts of controlled substances, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, in the list of dangerous drugs. These chemicals are used in manufacturing methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Section 93, Article XI of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 states that the Board is given the power to reclassify, add to or remove any chemical from the list of dangerous drugs.

Also a highlight during the meeting was the presentation of plaque of commendation to Commissioner Isidro Lapeña in recognition of his significant contributions as an Ex-officio member of the Board and Chairman of the Supply Reduction Committee during his tenure as Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General.

RA 9165 mandates DDB to be the policy making and strategy formulating body in the planning and formulation of policies and programs on drug prevention and control.