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Senate to realign P900-M Double Barrel budget

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will realign the P900 million in the proposed 2018 budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP) earmarked for its Double Barrel program as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been designated as the lead agency in the war on drugs.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he has discussed the possible realignment with Sen. Loren Legarda, who chairs the finance committee.

“We are looking at what to do with the P900 million. Does PDEA need additional funding because of its new designation?” Pimentel said.

He said the PDEA would still need the help of the PNP, which has the manpower to carry out the campaign against drugs.

But the PDEA will not get the entire P900-million budget, Pimentel said.

“If there is something left from the funds, our priority will be on housing and social services or what is most needed by the people,” he said.

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Pimentel, who has been critical of the PNP because of its inability to stop drug-related killings, said there is a problem with the police’s double barrel program.

“The problem with double barrel is that this refers to the barrel of the gun, one of which is pointed at the ground and the other on top. My advice to PDEA is to focus on the top and go after the suppliers first,” he said.

He emphasized that the suppliers and manufacturers are responsible for sustaining the illegal drug trade and not the pushers in the streets.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson supported the move to realign the P900-million PNP budget for its anti-drug campaign.

Lacson, chairman of the subcommittee on finance, said he proposed an increase of over P1 billion in the 2018 budget of the PDEA for the creation of 81 provincial and five Metro Manila district offices, purchase of additional vehicles and hiring of additional personnel. – With Christina Mendez, Romina Cabrera

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