DINALUPIHAN, Bataan - Vice President Leni Robredo, who has yet to gain the trust of her appointing authority President Rodrigo Duterte, has insisted on the rehabilitation route in combating the country's drug menace.
Barely three weeks into her post as co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Robredo maintained that the government must take a holistic approach in solving Philippines' illegal drug issue.
"Dahil sakit ito ng lipunan, kabahagi tayong lahat sa dahilan kung bakit ito nangyari at kabahagi tayong lahat sa paghanap ng solusyon," Robredo said Thursday, at the 3rd anniversary of Bahay Pagbabago, a community-based reformation center based in Dinalupihan in Bataan.
(Because this is a problem of society, we are part of the reason why this happened, and we should all take part in finding a solution.)
This, days after Duterte said he did not trust Robredo, a leader of the opposition, and refused to allow her access to classified information on country's anti-illegal drug operations.
"Pag-upo ko pa lang sinasabi ko na ang aking paniniwala ang kalaban natin droga, hindi tao,” she said.
(When I assumed I already said that I believe the enemy here is drugs, not the people.)
The Bahay Pagbabago was founded through the efforts of the local government, church, local police and community.
"Dahil droga ang ating kalaban, laban natin ito lahat. Hindi ito laban nung nagkamali, hindi laban ng pamilya niya lang pero laban nating lahat," she said.
(Drugs is the enemy, and this should be our fight. This is not the fight of the person who made a mistake or his family, but ours.)
Robredo's co-chair, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino for his part said that he also values reformation.
He recalled that when he was still police regional director in Central Luzon, he also urged chiefs-of-police to form their own rehabilitation centers in cooperation with their local mayors.
Rodolfo Quizon Jr., one of the children of the late comedian Dolphy, gave an inspirational message during the program, saying he is a is a living example that former drug users can be rehabilitated, and can change.
- With reports from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News