MANILA, Philippines — In sixteen months, government authorities successfully dismantled 172 clandestine shabu laboratories and drug dens in the country.
The data collated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) “#RealNumbers” shows from June 2016 up to October 25, 2017, 163 drug dens and nine clandestine shabu laboratories were dismantled while different illegal drugs were seized worth PHP18.85 billion, with an increase of PHP11.57 million compared to last month.
This shows the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs, says PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino.
Aquino explained with the dismantling of 173 laboratories, a total of 2,509.22 kilos of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP12.91 billion were seized, posting an increase of PHP11.38 million compared to 2,506.93 kilos seized last month with an estimated street value of PHP12.9 billion.
There are 117,044 individuals suspected involved in illegal drugs arrested from July 2016 to October 25, 2017.
Included in the total figure are 420 government workers – 181 of them elected officials, 36 uniformed personnel, and 203 government employees.
Around 77,468 anti-illegal drugs operations were conducted by joint law enforcement agencies during the period.
The operations resulted to the death of 3,967 drug suspects while 86 were killed in action and 225 wounded from the law enforcement agency during the anti-illegal drugs operations.
Aside from PDEA, agencies involved in the anti-illegal drugs operations are the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) among others.
Children in conflict with laws
The Philippine illegal drugs trade has infiltrated the minors as most of them were used as courier.
The record shows 589 minors rescued during anti-illegal drugs operations during the last sixteen months.
The Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) said those rescued minors, after court proceedings, will be endorsed to the Bahay Pagasa centers of local government units (LGUs) within eight hours of police custody, before turning them over to the DSWD centers to undergo counselling to help reform them back to society.
Since they are minors, DSWD said they would not be put in prison together with hardened criminals.
Aquino stressed his agency now focuses on high-value and high-impact targets as it strengthens its resolve to win the country’s war against illegal drugs.
Aquino called for an intensified campaign against the drug menace by conducting quality anti-illegal drug operations through the arrest of priority high-value targeted drug personalities.
Aquino said all operating units were given order and specific instructions to observe the rules of engagement and strictly operational thrusts:
- Identification and dismantling of clandestine shabu laboratories;
- Arrest of high-value targets;
- Prioritization of court duties; ensuring conviction and incarceration of drug personalities;
- Bolstering competencies and capabilities of PDEA personnel;
- Strengthening of agency’s internal cleansing program; and 6) reformation of drug users.
While the PDEA is into intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign, Aquino emphasized the need to cleanse their own agency of wayward personnel who are suspected to be part of the illegal drugs trade in the country.
There is a need for an “Internal cleansing is a continues effort, we are having continued internal counter-intelligence efforts and lifestyle checks among our ranks to maintain the Agency’s integrity and moral ascendancy,” Aquino stressed.
Drug reformatory centers
The need to establishment of community-based drug reformatory centers as after-care shelters for thousands of drug surrenderers nationwide is necessary for that those arrested will be processed in a center to help them rebuild, recover and embrace a drug-free life.”
Even if undermanned, Aquino said, the PDEA needs to push the campaign as the drugs problem in the country was considered pandemic by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.
With only 1,038 personnel, Aquino said needs to exercise its mandate and Implementation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002.
Solving the illegal drugs problem does not necessarily mean a bloody war “Bloods shed only when necessary, only when lives of the government enforcers are at stake, only when there is resistance during operations,” Aquino said.
Since Aquino assumed office, all personnel involve in the operations are advised to were body cameras to ensure strict procedures are followed.
“All personnel joining the operations must wear body camera and we require the presence of the media and officials from the local government to ensure transparency in our operations, We do not want people to think that we are breaking laws, we want to show to them, we are professionally doing our work in line with our mandate,” he added.
Proper coordination with other government agencies concerned , Aquino pointed, is necessary to ensure smooth operations.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph with reports from PNA