IT'S NOW OR NEVER. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director Ronald dela Rosa exhorted the public and local governments to help in the fight against illegal drugs, claiming that the Duterte administration may be the country's last hope to quash "narco-terrorism."
At the 115th anniversary of the Police Services on Tuesday, dela Rosa said President Duterte's unprecedented campaign against narcotics and crime prompted policemen to double their efforts against criminal elements.
"Never in the previous years have we waged such relentless war against crime and illegal drugs. And never in the Philippines' recent history have we awakened such favor among our men and women to risk life and limb to save our youth and the rest of our countrymen from the illegal drug menace," he said.
Dela Rosa claimed the campaign's benefits are starting to show, as seen in a lower crime rate nationwide, the surrender of thousands of drug suspects and an improved image of policemen.
But dela Rosa said the fight against the drug menace has just begun.
He said some policemen continue to accept "drug money" and many areas are still held by politicians involved in the underground trade.
"Talagang harap-harapan ang pagtanggap nila ng pera galing sa droga. Ginawang kalakaran na (They are openly accepting drug money. They made it a way of life.)," he said.
He said he has also received reports of drug lords abducting the families of upright officials who oppose them.
"Hindi nababalita iyan pero grabe ang suffering ng mga tao na nagtatrabaho against drugs," he said. (These reports do not reach news agencies but anti-drug officials really suffer. )
All Filipinos must unite against illegal drugs or bow down to narco-terrorism, he said.
"'Pag hindi tayo kumilos ngayon, walang pupuntahan. Mabubuhay tayo under the threat of narco-terrorism." (If we don't take action now, we'll get nowhere. We will live under the threat of narco-terrorism. )
He added that now is the country's "last chance" to eradicate the drug menace because there is no guarantee that the next administration would show the same commitment against drugs.
"Sana tayo ay magkaisa, hindi lang tayong kapulisan -- pati mga LGU mismo, mga sibilyan, military. Pagtutulong-tulungan natin ito na talagang itayo natin ang bandera ng Pilipinas. This is our last chance," he said.
(I hope we all unite, not just us, policemen -- but also local government units, civilians, the military. Let us help each other raise the country's image. This is our last chance.)
"Otherwise, after the Duterte presidency, kung sino man ang papalit, I don't know kung kakayanin niya iyung ginagawa ni Presidente Digong. Tsansa na po natin ito, tuloy-tuloy ang laban," the top cop added.
(I am not certain that the next administration can achieve what President Digong has done. This is our chance, let's continue the fight.)
FULL SUPPORT FOR COPS
At the same time, dela Rosa also assured that the government will give full support to police who risk their lives to combat narcotics.
"We are not only working towards providing you with the tools you need to perform your functions better but also with the benefits and privileges that will help you give your families a better and comfortable lives," he said.
He also urged scalawag officials to change their ways. "This is your chance to save your career and live better lives."
Dela Rosa ended his speech by encouraging the PNP to "renew commitment to police ideals of service, honor and justice."