AFP awaits Duterte's formal order to join drug fray


Posted at Feb 19 2017 11:52 AM

PDEA agents guard seized laboratory equipment and chemicals intended to make methamphétamine, also known as "shabu," before its destruction in waste treatment facility in Valenzuela City early December. Ezra Acayan, Reuters

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines is waiting for an executive order from President Duterte to formalize its support role in the anti-narcotics campaign.

"Even wala pa yung EO na hinihintay natin, we are ready to operate with PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency ). PDEA is the main [operating unit,] and we are just support," said AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año at the sidelines of the Philippine Military Academy alumni homecoming.

Earlier this month, President Duterte suspended the national police from the anti-drugs war that has killed over 7,600 people in 7 months after a South Korean businessman was kidnapped and killed by members of a police drugs squad.

He handed charge of the anti-drugs campaign to the PDEA and tasked military troops to give back-up.

An AFP task force, Año said, will provide anti-drug agencies with intelligence on drug syndicates.

"We'll not be involved in running after street pushers, the Armed Forces will help PDEA in running after high-level drug syndicates," the AFP chief said.

"There will be an AFP task force that will work with PDEA, not the whole AFP will be conducting anti-drug operations because our mandate is still to run after the internal threats to national security," he added.

Duterte renewed his call for soldiers to help in the drug war during their alumni homecoming on Saturday, where he was adopted by the PMA Class 1967.