Anti-drug campaign still priority of Duterte gov’t: Esperon

MANILAThe ongoing campaign against illegal drugs remains a priority of the Duterte administration.

This was bared by National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon during the "Tatak ng Pagbabago" Pre-SONA Forum held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City Wednesday.

"One of our major programs is the war against drugs. Naniniwala kaming mas matatag ang isang bansa na malaya sa tanikala ng bawal na gamot (We believe that a country is stronger when it is free from the chain of illegal drugs)," he added.

In line with President Rodrigo Duterte's directive, Esperon said the government's campaign against illegal drugs, from July 1, 2016 up to June 30 this year, has resulted in the surrender of more than 1.2 million drug personalities; arrest of 49,265 persons; and 4,540 drug lords and pushers who opted to fight it out were neutralized.

During this period, 18,388 barangays or 62 percent of the 29,749 drug-affected barangays in the country have been cleared of illegal drugs.

Esperon said this resulted in the rehabilitation of 208,000 drug surrenderers representing 16.41 percent of the total 1.2 million target; confiscation of PHP13.5 billion worth of drugs, shabu, controlled precursors and essential chemicals in 2017.

"Our campaign covered a total of 5,275 barangays by advocacy campaign capacitated 757 cities and municipalities on information and intelligence gathering; established drug rehabilitation and treatment centers; supervised 17 treatment and rehabilitation centers. Of this number, three are operational, two are on-going construction and 13 are on their preparatory stages," the NSA said.

As an added benefit, 99.5 percent of the 1,715 target local government units (LGUs) successfully developed their respective three-year Peace and Order and Public Safety Plan 2017-2019; and 99.96 percent of the 42,036 barangays nationwide including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have organized or reorganized their barangay anti-drug abuse council or (BADAC).

"Our efforts in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality, has resulted in reduced crime volume by 11 percent in FY 2017. On index and non-index crimes, we have noted a 22.86 percent and 7.23 percent decrease, respectively. On anti-criminality, we have recorded a five percent increase on crime clearance efficiency and a four percent increase on crime solution efficiency in FY 2017," Esperon pointed out.

He added that these gains were reflected in the lives of Filipinos as they felt safer in 2017.

"In the December 2017 SWS survey, 57 percent of Filipino adults nationwide said the safety of their family is better now compared to six months ago. In that same survey the president had a net satisfaction rating of 58 percent," Esperon stressed.

The anti-drug campaign is a combined effort of the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Dangerous Drugs Board, Department of Health, Local Government Units, and other government institutions.

President Rodrigo Duterte has also created the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), in a bid to synchronize government efforts to combat the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

The Chief Executive signed Executive Order 15 on March 6, 2017, providing for the creation of a National Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force, designating PDEA as head of ICAD that would include as members 20 government institutions, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Defense. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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