MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo will "soon" be invited to present to the House of Representatives the changes she wants in the government's anti-narcotics drive in which she recently accepted a leadership post, a lawmaker said Thursday.
As new co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD), Robredo said she would go after drug bigwigs, policemen who allegedly resold seized narcotics, and officials who smuggled tons of shabu into the country. The Vice President also earlier called for a "health-based" approach in fighting the drug menace.
"We will invite the Vice President soon," said the head of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers.
"[Ito'y] para mailatag niya sa komite iyong kaniyang mga proposal sa pag-tweak sa anti-drug program ng ating administration. Interasado kami d'yan, baka kailangan may legislation na gawin," he added.
(It's so she could lay down before the committee her proposal in tweaking the administration's anti-drug program. We are interested because it might need legislation.)
FIGHTING GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Drug hauls worth millions of pesos recently confiscated across the country were smuggled into ports by the "Golden Triangle" syndicate, Barbers said, citing information from a Customs official.
"The Company", an alliance of 5 of Asia’s triad groups, is suspected of mass producing drugs in "super-labs" in Golden Triangle, a lawless opium-producing region where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand, China and Laos meet, according to a Reuters report.
To combat narcotics, Senate President Tito Sotto earlier proposed replacing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) with a new agency with "policy-making and strategy-formulating functions."
The House of Representatives is studying some provisions of Sotto's proposal, but a new anti-drug agency "will just become a same dog with new collar," said Barbers.
"Most of the sentiments ng mga kasamahan dito sa lower house e siguro palakasin muna natin itong existing nating PDEA by arming them with necessary logistics," he told radio DZMM.
"Superior ang firearms ng drug lord. Sa mobility, iyong atin naka-motorsiklo, kanila naka-SUV at mga bulletproof pa," he added.
(Most of the sentiments of our colleagues here in the lower house is perhaps strengthen first the existing PDEA by arming them with necessary logistics. The firearms of drug lords are superior. In terms of mobility, are agents use motorcycles, while drug dealers use bulletproof SUVs.)