Duterte institutionalizes PH anti-illegal drugs strategy

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 31 2018 04:02 PM

A police officer lists down names of suspected drug users and pushers at a processing center in Tondo, Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order institutionalizing the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS), a program that aims to boost government's ongoing anti-narcotics campaign.

The PADS, formulated by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), “outlines the balanced efforts of the government to strengthen its campaign against prohibited drugs and their precursors, and contribute to international efforts to counter the worldwide illegal drug problem.”

Under Executive Order No. 66, Duterte ordered all government offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, to implement the PADS in accordance with their respective mandates.

Non-government organizations, civil society organizations, and private institutions are “encouraged” to actively support projects and programs under the PADS.

“To ensure the successful implementation of the PADS and to demonstrate our country’s resolve in confronting the issue on illegal drugs, it is necessary that government and non-government entities carry out their respective functions and tasks under the PADS,” the EO reads.

Government agencies were tasked to formulate and submit to the DDB their respective implementing and operational plans relative to the PADS.

All government agencies and local government units were also ordered to formulate and adopt drug-free workplace programs and conduct authorized drug testing among their officials and personnel.

LGUs, meanwhile, should formulate and submit their own implementing and operational plans to the DDB, establish or strengthen their anti-drug abuse councils, work with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police in implementing the PADS, coordinate with the health department in the assessment and management of drug abusers, and allot a portion of their respective annual appropriations for anti-illegal drugs programs.

Meanwhile, the DDB, with the assistance of the Philippine Statistics Authority, was tasked to conduct a nationwide survey every three years to determine drug abuse prevalence in the country.

Ending the drug scourge in the country has been the President's top priority, but critics say numerous human rights violations were being committed in the government’s war on drugs.

The PDEA said from July 2016 to September 2018, a total of 4,948 drug suspects were killed while 158,424 persons were arrested in 110,395 anti-drug operations.

Amid allegations of human rights abuses, the administration has repeatedly said that drug suspects slain in police anti-drug operations had resisted arrest.