The Dangerous Drugs Board is saddened by the remarks of Vice President Leni Robredo citing that the anti-drug campaign must be stopped and referring to it as a failure.
It seems that up until now, the Vice President is misled in understanding the anti-drug campaign. Authorities continue to address the domestic drug issues using a holistic, balanced and comprehensive approach. Though much of the agencies of the government have been diligent in performing their roles and responsibilities under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS) which is institutionalized by virtue of Executive Order No. 66, series of 2018, there are still institutions in the government and sectors in the society that need to be informed on PADS.
The campaign against illegal drugs is guided by the PADS framework which puts significant premium on both drug supply and drug demand reduction initiatives. It appears that VP Robredo is only looking at the one side of the campaign. While enforcement issues are more evident, we cannot discount the successes we have gained in the demand reduction part of the campaign.
On treatment and rehabilitation, we were able to empower local government units to provide community-based interventions to Persons Who Use Drugs. As of August 2019, out of the 1,634 cities and municipalities in the country, 997 already have an existing community-based rehabilitation program. A total of 179,152 PWUDs have benefitted from these facilities.
PURSUING REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
As the Dangerous Drugs Board leads the implementation of PADS, is has always been open to presenting the overall picture of the Philippine Government’s campaign against illegal drugs to international organizations and counterparts. Along with other agencies of the government, DDB regularly participates in dialogues and discussions with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
In addition, the Philippine has gained momentum even in the international platform with its latest selection as Chair of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Cluster of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters. Previously, the Government of Malaysia used to Chair the organization given its vast, effective and evidence-based treatment modalities which is known in the southeast asian region. However, the ASEAN Member-States saw the successful initiatives of the Philippines where it has brought down to the community the available interventions to help drug depends in treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration. Such initiative is set to be used as a benchmark in ASEAN.
Recently, the Dangerous Drugs Board Executive Director also got elected as the Chair of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Asia and the Pacific Region. The HONLEA is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which aims to enhance cooperation in drug law enforcement activities at the Asia and the Pacific Region. It is composed of twenty-five member-states with additional countries sitting as observers. This shows that international counterparts trust the Philippines’ action when it comes to setting standards, benchmarks and best practices in waging its anti-drug campaign.
Time and again, the Dangerous Drugs Board reiterates its readiness to engage with the different sectors and institutions by laying down the framework behind the government’s anti-drug campaign and how they can be part of its implementation.
With the strong public support, the government intends to sustain the existing supply reduction efforts involving aggressive law enforcement with consistent adherence to and observance of human rights, coupled with comprehensive demand reduction initiatives and supported by strong international ties.