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While the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs does not bank on recognition to have its efforts propped, the Dangerous Drugs Board finds the latest remarks of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to be unfair and prejudiced.

The government’s programs and actions are guided by the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy, a cohesive, comprehensive, and balanced approach aligned with regional and international frameworks on drug prevention and control.

Like any country, the Philippines cannot and do not claim its strategies to be perfect but it can assure that these are guided by policies which uphold the rule of law, respect human rights, and adhere to international standards.

The DDB hopes that the remark of the Human Rights High Commissioner would not discourage law enforcers who risk their lives to stop illegal drug perpetrators, treatment and rehabilitation practitioners who work to ensure people affected by drug use are given appropriate interventions, and prevention workers who bring the anti-drug advocacy to the communities.

The Philippine government appreciates the countries that consider its campaign as a model for seeing not only the heightened law enforcement efforts but also the human-centered policies that have been instituted.

Recent policies issued are focused on establishing a whole-of-nation approach to the drug problem as national government agencies, local government units and non-government groups and organizations are given primary roles in the implementation of drug prevention and control programs.

The success indicators so far

In contrary to the UN High Commissioner’s statement, the government has been transparent in terms of data and statistics both on the supply and demand reduction side.

Efforts to update the public with the gains in the campaign against drugs are continuously undertaken. These include the use of social media to provide accurate data and information not just on the enforcement but also on the public health side.

Policy issue

The Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy, institutionalized through the issuance of Executive Order No. 66, Series of 2018 by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, is a testament to the commitment to implement a holistic and balanced approach in addressing the country’s problem on illegal drugs.

This strategy provides an extensive framework for law enforcement and penalties for violations while at the same time adopts a compassionate approach to victims of drug use by encouraging voluntary treatment and rehabilitation, under an overarching framework which emphasizes respect for human rights.

Under this strategy, the government is focused on enhancing programs in the supply and demand reduction aspect of the campaign as well as in cross cutting concerns such as treatment, rehabilitation and reformation, civic awareness and response, alternative development, and regional and international cooperation.