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The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) expresses its dismay at the ill-informed action of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to proceed with its preliminary investigation on the violations which have purportedly been committed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in the course of its campaign against illegal drugs.

The Board finds it highly condemnable for the international body to act upon accusations which are not just unsubstantiated by concrete and tangible evidence, but are also outrightly dismissive of the massive gains which the Philippines has achieved, both in the formulation of policies and implementation of programs that correspond to the urgent need to address the drug problem in the country.

As the lead agency in policy-making and strategy-formulation in all matters pertinent to drug abuse prevention and control, the DDB puts emphasis on the importance of promulgating a national plan of action that will outline the country’s “whole-of-government” approach in dealing with its problem on illegal drugs, which is basically why the Board immediately spearheaded the crafting and mainstreaming of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS). This Strategy, which was institutionalized by virtue of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 66, series of 2018, codifies in a comprehensive manner the action steps the Government should follow in reducing – if not totally eradicating – both the supply and the demand for illicit substances. Reduced to simple terms, the PADS provides rehabilitative and reformatory measures to drug dependents and metes out severe penalties for other drug-related offenses such as manufacturing and trafficking, while making sure that the basic principles and tenets of human rights are respected and adhered to.

Aside from this, in place also are several Board Regulations which provide for the procedures and protocols to be observed by the Government, and which involve agencies and offices from the barangays up to the national level. A prime example of these is Board Regulation No. 4, Series of 2016, which lays down the framework for providing appropriate interventions to Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs) who voluntary surrendered to authorities.

Equally noteworthy is Board Regulation No. 2, Series of 2018, which seeks to provide reformatory rehabilitation to drug offenders who voluntarily surrender or who avail of the plea bargaining agreement.

It is in light of these existing policy frameworks that the DDB reiterates its utmost disappointment at the passage of the Resolution and at the continued efforts by oppositionists – both local and international – to discredit the successes the Duterte Administration has attained in the last couple of years. More aggravating is the fact that while the Board has time and again presented these extensive and responsive policies and programs in different venues, the same detractors seem to be bent only on disinforming not only the collegial body, but the general public as well, with regard to the actual picture of the Philippines’ “war on drugs.”

Along the same line, we would like to encourage the UNHRC to refrain from taking hasty and unfounded measures, and to recommend that the body devote its time instead in researching the numerous policies which govern the anti-illegal drug campaign.

In ending, the Board remains true to its commitment to serve the nation through the continued creation and implementation of policies and programs which are backed by the latest data and evidence, towards the end goal of securing a drug-cleared Philippines for the generations to come.

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