THE government’s intensified war against illegal drugs has made a significant impact on the national drug situation in the first 100 days of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“When I took over the leadership of PDEA, the President vowed to stop the drug problem in three to six months by all means the law allows. The government’s fight against illegal drugs has never been strongly felt by the Filipinos until the leadership of President Duterte,” said PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña.
“In response to the President’s marching orders, PDEA focused its operational thrusts towards high-impact operations and arrests of high-value targets to suppress the supply of dangerous drugs, while stepping up the drug demand reduction efforts in the communities,” Lapeña added.
Lapeña said PDEA, the lead agency against illegal drugs, has conducted 7,928 anti-drug operations that led to the arrest of 8,428 drug personalities, the filing of 7,002 drug cases and the seizure of P8.21 billion worth of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs), from June 30 to Oct. 7, 2016.
“Due to the intensified efforts of these anti-drug units, the first floating shabu laboratory and industrial-type shabu laboratory were discovered and dismantled. There were five clandestine shabu laboratories dismantled during the period, compared to the two illegal facilities dismantled in 2015 and three in the first semester of 2016,” Lapeña said.
Some 573.95 kilograms of shabu, the primary drug of choice, have been seized by the authorities, with the highest seizure this year totalling 1,453.46 kilograms, exceeding the yearly seizures from 2010 to 2015.
Lapeña noted these accomplishments despite drug personalities trying to avoid detection and making quick disposals of precursors used to manufacture shabu wherein eight incidents of recovery of abandoned chemicals in expressways were recorded.
For the period, 25 drug dens were closed down nationwide. Drug dens are one-stop shops that facilitate administration, delivery, storage, distribution, and sale or use of illegal drugs.
Marijuana, the second prevailing drug of abuse, is also under the close monitoring of law enforcers. The confiscation of 558.96 kilograms of dried marijuana leaves during the period has surpassed the seizures in 2014 and 2015.
The destruction of marijuana plants, with an estimated value of P4.79 billion in 28 marijuana eradication operations, was also recorded.
In addition, ecstasy being the third most abused drug, has also made remarkable volume in seizures.
Officials said 12,014 ecstasy tablets were confiscated in the 100-day period, compared with the recorded yearly seizures from 2011 to 2014 combined.
On the other hand, the seizure of 34.39 kilograms of cocaine, intercepted in the country’s major airports, has eclipsed the total seizure in 2015.
“The confiscated drug and non-drug evidence valued at P8.21 billion during the period has gone beyond the yearly recorded seizures of illegal drugs from 2011 to 2015,” Lapeña noted.
Another breakthrough in the history of drug law enforcement is the voluntary surrender of 733,635 drug personalities which comprises 24 percent of the 3.7 million drug users nationwide.
Due to the mass surrender, shabu consumption was reduced to 2.24 metric tons that translates to P5.59 billion proceeds loss of drug syndicates, and the crime rate was reduced by 49 percent.
Further, the strong political will of shame-naming the drug protectors in the government instilled fear among those involved in the illegal drug trade and made them yield to authorities.
The reinforced implementation of jail management systems had also positive effects in the reduction of drugs in the streets.
“Also taken into account is the rapid increase of the street price of shabu in the local market. From P1,200 to P11,000 per gram in January to June 2016, shabu [price] now ranges from P1,200 to P25,000 per gram. This is the highest since 2002,” the PDEA chief pointed out.
To strengthen the government’s anti-drug campaign in the communities, PDEA has initiated 34,296 drug demand reduction activities, including anti-drug summits throughout the country.
To unite communities in the fight against illegal drugs, Masa Masid, a community-based program that aims to encourage pro-active participation of the citizenry for the prevention of corruption, illegal drugs and criminality in the barangays, was launched.
“It is noteworthy that it only took one hundred days to accomplish these achievements in response to the self-imposed obligation of the President. We can do more. The intensified war on drugs, at present, is seen, felt, and more importantly, participated in by the Filipino people, thus making the challenge, though overwhelming, becoming more and more attainable,” Lapeña said.