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Under PRRD, the anti-drug effort is strong: PDEA

MANILA, Philippines — The national anti-drug campaign has never been stronger than it is now, thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, which has attracted widespread praise and criticism in the local and international communities.

Director General Wilkins Villanueva of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the deaths were the result of violent actions by drug personalities against anti-narcotics authorities during lawful arrests during the Duterte Legacy Summit on Tuesday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

He challenged critics of the government’s drug campaign to look into it and ask those “whose domiciles belong to the drug-cleared barangays on what they are currently enjoying.”

“I recognize your right to free expression, persistent critics (of the government’s drug war operation) who argue that the drug war is a failure. You (critics) may have expressed your views based on what you see or hear in the news rather than on personal experiences,” he stated.
“In my opinion, no one else but residents of drug-free areas are the best judges of whether or not the drug war is a success,” he said.

According to Villanueva, the government’s all-out assault on illegal narcotics began when President Duterte pledged to eliminate the “colossal and decades-old problem in a short amount of time.”

Second opportunities were granted to drug personalities “who seek to right their wrong and navigate the route to recovery,” Villanueva added, emphasizing that the government valued human lives.

“The goal of anti-drug operations was never to kill people. Let us not forget that the PDEA had its share of casualties on the side of law enforcement,” he stated.

Multiple deaths have occurred during legal anti-drug operations, according to Villanueva, but this pales in comparison to the large number of drug suspects detained.

“A lot has been said about the President’s failure to follow through on his commitment to cleanse the country of illegal drugs in his first six months in office. He acknowledged that he overestimated the scope of the drug problem,” he stated.

“We can put a halt to the selling as soon as we put a stop to the buyers.” If no one patronizes it, no one resorts to drug-peddling,” Villanueva added.

With the government’s aggressive anti-illegal drug campaign, Villanueva claims that peace and order have reigned supreme, and communal progress abounds.

The “Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP)” assumed the position of the catalyst under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drug Strategy, according to the PDEA commander (PADS).

PADS, according to Villanueva, is a “whole-of-nation approach to confronting the country’s drug menace.”

“The BDCP’s holy grail is to promote the creation of healthy communities free of the negative consequences of illegal drugs,” Villanueva added.

In the barangay drug clearance operations, he said, the BDCP solicited the help of all stakeholders, duty bearers, and local government units (LGUs), yielding “successful high impact” results.

This resulted in the seizure of billions of pesos worth of hazardous drugs and the arrest of high-profile drug figures, all of which were considered “large-scale accomplishments.”

Recognizing the situation, Villanueva stated that the Duterte administration established community-based reformation centers, which have continued to thrive in the surrounding villages.

Since the start of the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs in mid-2016, officials have confiscated a total of PHP89.29 billion in narcotics across the country, according to the latest Real Numbers figures as of April 30.

The products contained PHP76.55 billion of shabu, according to the PDEA.

Authorities seized 8,177.79 kilograms (kg) of shabu, 4,226.08 kilograms (kg) of marijuana, 21.93 kilograms (kg) of ecstasy, 534.20 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, and 3,483.67 kilograms (kg) of other dangerous substances.

Between July 2016 and April 2022, 1,156 drug dens and 19 clandestine shabu laboratories were demolished.

A total of 15,096 high-value targets (HVTs) were arrested across the country, including 6,768 HVTs from high-impact operations, 4,043 target-listed suspects, 1,670 drug den maintainers, 797 drug group leaders/members, 529 government employees, 402 elected officials, 364 foreigners, 295 people on wanted lists, 126 uniformed personnel, 78 armed group members, and 24 prominent figures.

Authorities also apprehended 341,494 other people involved in illegal narcotics trafficking.

There are 2,635 pushers, 1,004 possessors, 453 users, 246 visitors to the drug den, 10 drug den maintainers, 18 drug den employees, three cultivators, one lab employee, and two runners among the 4,372 children apprehended.

After court procedures, the rescued juveniles were taken to local government units’ Bahay Pag-asa reform centers for eight hours before being handed over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

At least 25,061 of the 42,045 villages have been cleaned of illicit substances; 6,574 have remained drug-free; and 10,410 have yet to be cleared.

Following the issue of a certification by members of the oversight committee, the villages have achieved drug-cleared status.

During 236,620 anti-illegal drug operations, 6,248 suspects were killed, according to the study.

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