MANILA- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Tuesday it welcomes the return of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the campaign against illegal drugs.
"PDEA welcomes the decision of the President. It has been the desire of PDEA that PNP will return in the fight against illegal drugs," PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said.
Malacañang on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a memorandum circular allowing the police to participate anew in the government's anti-narcotics drive.
The PDEA, however, remains as the overall lead agency in the campaign.
Aquino admitted that the 2,000-strong PDEA is undermanned, under-budgeted, and under-equipped to handle the government's nationwide campaign alone.
The PDEA was tasked by Duterte to take the lead in the anti-drug campaign after the roughly 175,000-strong PNP faced allegations of abuse in the drug war.
This prompted the PNP to terminate its controversial "Oplan Double Barrel" and Oplan Tokhang" initiatives. It had said it would shift to cleansing its ranks and addressing other crimes.