MANILA — The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday that he would push for improvements on the government's war on drugs.
“On this administration po, we have to study po na...hindi natin sinasabi na mali po yung strategy noon, but we need to study some more, how do we improve our campaign or war on drugs," PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said in a press briefing.
(We are not saying that the previous strategy was wrong, but we need to study some more.)
"And it does not only come on the PNP, but it should come from every sector, every concerned member of the community.”
He said the PNP would seek barangays' participation in the war on drugs. Barangay is the basic political unit in the system of government in the Philippines.
”How do you intend to help the police, so that we would know kung sila ba ay tutulong sa atin o ibibigay na lang nila sa 'tin yung pagbibigay ng solusyon (if they will help us or just offer solutions)?” Azurin said.
Under Oplan Tokhang, the original form of the previous administration's war on drugs, village authorities were involved in the identification of drug suspects, through the watch list submitted by the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council to the police.
Azurin said the PNP would also meet with the Department of Health (DOH) to ask how government could rehabilitate those who wish to escape from drug addiction.
The PNP chief also stressed the importance of the need to create jobs for those who have no source of livelihood.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a vocal critic of the previous administration's war on drugs, previously sought a health-based approach to end the Philippines' narcotics problem.
Azurin declined to comment when asked if he planned to look into the conduct of the drug war under the previous administration.
In late June, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan asked the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to allow his office to resume its probe into the drug war. The inquiry was suspended last year on the request of the Philippines, which cited its own investigation.
In a 53-page request, Khan said the Philippine government has not demonstrated it has investigated or is investigating crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction.
In October 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) drug war review panel came out with a matrix of 52 cases forwarded from the PNP's Internal Affairs Service.
Khan, however, rejected this as a mere administrative “desk review."
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently said the Philippines had "no intention of rejoining" the ICC. Former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018 canceled the Philippines' membership in the ICC's founding treaty after it launched a preliminary probe into his drug crackdown
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