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Gov’t still ‘in the thick of fight’ vs. illegal drugs: Duterte

October 20, 2020 - Tuesday 7:10 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image IN THE THICK OF FIGHT. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on Monday (Oct. 19, 2020). Duterte said his government remains in the thick of the fight against illegal drugs. (Presidential photo by Robinson Niñal)

MANILA – Despite reduction in the number of drug users, President Rodrigo Duterte declared his government remains in the thick of the fight against the illegal drugs.

In his weekly Talk to the Nation on Monday night, Duterte said the Dangerous Drugs Board reported that the number of Filipino drug users aged 10 to 69 has been reduced to 1.67 million.

“In the past, ‘yung panahon nila Dela Rosa, umabot ‘yan ng (during the time of [now senator Ronald] Dela Rosa), almost 4 million. And how much has been reduced in the use of shabu? I really do not know until now. But we are still in the thick of the fight against shabu,” Duterte said.

Duterte vowed to remain relentless in his fight against illegal drugs that, if not stopped, will put in danger the security of the country.

“In the end, it will destroy the nation. If this is allowed to go on and on, and if no decisive action is taken against them, it will endanger the security of the state,” he said.

Supervise your kids

Duterte also reminded parents of their responsibility to always check their children if they are hooked on illegal drugs.

“I forgot this important advice that parents should have also -- a shared responsibility. Dapat kayo rin ang masisi nito kung ang inyong anak pupunta na doon. Pinabayaan ninyo (You should also take the blame if your child gets involved with drugs. You neglected them). Check on your children always. Supervise, check,” he said.

He said it pains him to see a “waste of life” because of the drug syndicates who continue to operate in the country despite his relentless campaign to address illegal drugs.

“Ito lang ang masabi ko, nagwa-warning talaga ako sa inyo, lalo na 'yung mga dealer. Huwag na 'yung user na mahirap. (I want to say this, I am warning you, especially the drug dealers. Not the poor user). They are indolent. They do not want to work, laggards, because their minds are destroyed by drugs. Kaya ako, I grieve for the Filipinos na tinamaan ng droga. Talagang masakit sa akin because a waste of life (That’s why I grieve for the Filipinos affected by illegal drugs. It really pains me because it’s a waste of life),” Duterte said.

In his public address on Oct. 5, Duterte ordered the authorities to destroy all confiscated shabu, in one week to prevent them from being stolen, used, or recycled.

“I want all the shabu residual or otherwise, however minimal, destroyed, the whole of it by next week. You have so many days to do it, one week. Do it in one week. Destroy and get specimen,” he said.

Duterte said he saw no reason to keep confiscated prohibited drugs sitting in facilities for so long.

“We go by science, there’s the experiment. Why do we have to put on our shoulder the burden of keeping a contraband or merchandise that can be stolen and used, and recycled?” he said.

After one week, Duterte expressed elation over the government authorities’ compliance with his order to destroy confiscated illegal drugs.

In his report to Duterte on Oct. 15, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said Philippine National Police has destroyed 1,200 kilos of methamphetamine or shabu while the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has destroyed 600 kilos worth a total of PHP8.16 billion.

In the virtual Palace briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the war against illegal drugs will remain the cornerstone of the Duterte administration despite the high number of drug users.

“Wala naman po talagang bansa na nagiging 100 percent drug free pero ang sinasabi ng Pangulo, iyan ay cornerstone ng kaniyang administration (There is no country that is 100 percent drug free but what the President is saying, anti-illegal drug campaign is the cornerstone of his administration),” Roque said.

Roque said the DBB’s 1.67 million drug users report was based on the 2019 National Household Survey on the Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse.

“So it’s a proper scientific basis and it’s a national survey. So I suppose because it’s a proper survey, they must have complied with sufficient statistical sample and all those things,” he said.