PDEA says Filipino drug dependents shifting from shabu to marijuana

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2020 10:25 PM

ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - The illegal drugs supply in the Philippines has shifted from crystal meth, or shabu, to marijuana and ecstasy, the chief of the country's drug enforcement bureau said Tuesday.

“'Yung mga dating nagsha-shabu, bumabalik na sa marijuana. Having said that, doon na tayo sa Cordillera, nage-eradicate tayo ng marijuana,” Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Wilkins Villanueva told ABS-CBN News in an interview.

Marijuana has been next to shabu in terms of public awareness on dangerous drugs, a recent survey released by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) showed.

The change in demand by drug users and traders, Villanueva believes, is due to efforts of law enforcement.

“The thing is we are doing what we are supposed to do, particularly 'yung sa community based, sa grass root level. At doon tayo malakas actually, with the help of the local government,” he emphasized.

As of November, 14,000 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs, PDEA’s records showed.

“Talagang bubunuin natin ito, and we are really running out of time,” the PDEA chief admitted.

A recent DDB survey however showed a decline in the number of Filipino drug dependents at more than a million.

This figure is an improvement from President Rodrigo Duterte’s estimated number in 2017 of about 4 million users, says Villanueva.

“Wala pa rin country na immune from illegal drugs. Ito ngayon ang tutukan ng PDEA at police next year hanggang sa matapos ang termino ng ating Pangulo through the conduct of drug clearing program,” he said.

Duterte on Monday again lashed out at human rights advocates while calling on the military to join his administration’s war on drugs.

“Kapag umatras ako, walang mangyayari sa Pilipinas sa panahon ko. Huwag kayo matakot pumatay. Hayaan mo yang human rights. Basta you do it in accordance with the law,” the President said.

The Commission on Human Rights meanwhile reiterated its stand on the rule of law, but this time underscored the government’s accountability.

“Ang laki talaga ng problema kung susuriin natin yung issue ng accountability. Dapat tulong-tulong na magkaroon ng accountability, para hindi nagkakaroon ng impunity kasi nga isang offshoot ng hindi pagpapanagot is 'yung mga nangyayaring brazen crime," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

"We will not allow these killings to happen,” she said. 

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