MANILA- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Sunday it is willing to help the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said the military can provide support in the conduct of anti-drug operations in conflict-stricken areas.
"In line with the February 2017 MOA, the AFP has been a significant force provider to the anti-illegal drugs operations, especially in conflict-affected areas, particularly where conditions for insurgency, secessionism, and terrorism persist," Año said.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently ordered PDEA to take the lead in the anti-drug campaign placing the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the back seat amid allegations of abuse in the drug war.
AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Col. Edgard Arevalo reiterated its February 2017 memorandum of agreement with the PDEA, expressing the military's commitment to the anti-narcotics campaign.
"The AFP has always been in support role to PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in any illegal drugs operations unless we are otherwise requested to lead especially in conflict-affected areas," Arevalo said.
Recent data from the AFP regional task groups show a total of 6,981 operations have been jointly conducted with PDEA since July 2016 to September 2017, resulting in the arrest of 1,241 drugs suspects and the death of 146.