Aquino said Duterte probably drew his conclusions following the seizure of 442 kilos of shabu worth P2.8 billion in separate operations in Muntinlupa and Manila.
Drug problem worse? PDEA cites large seizures
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - March 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino clarified yesterday President Duterte’s assessment that the drug problem in the country is worsening, saying it is a perception arising from recent seizures of big volumes of shabu.

Aquino said Duterte probably drew his conclusions following the seizure of 442 kilos of shabu worth P2.8 billion in separate operations in Muntinlupa and Manila.

This is unlike previous law enforcement operations wherein only several sachets of shabu were confiscated, Aquino said.

He noted that with billions of pesos worth of drugs now being confiscated, people including the President have the impression that the situation has worsened.

According to Aquino, the situation is in fact improving as authorities have been able to intercept large volumes of illegal drugs.

“The billions of pesos in seizures of illegal drugs are a positive indicator that the government is very effective in carrying out its war against illegal drugs,” he added.

Aquino said they were able to freeze some P2 billion in assets of about 400 drug traffickers in the country with the help of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

He said most of the drug dealers are Chinese nationals who have earned millions from their illegal drug activities in the country.

It is proof, according to Aquino, that the government is not only concentrating on street-level operations against suspected drug pushers but also on financial investigation.

The Philippines will exterminate the drug trade by any efficient means available, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday. 

Locsin said the Philippines cannot stop its anti-drug strategy articulated during the Ministerial Segment of the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotics and Drugs on March 14 in Vienna, Austria.

He was also reacting to the PDEA confirmation that the seven blocks containing white crystalline granules fished out of the waters of Bagamanoc town in Catanduanes Monday afternoon were cocaine.

“They won’t stop so we cannot stop our policy articulated in UN Vienna: we will exterminate the drug trade by any means efficient to achieve that purpose,” Locsin tweeted. 

“A whole of nation approach of throwing everything at it (eg more all-out police operations). F*** critical drug-paid opinion,” he said.

He said “the Philippine war on drugs has braved withering criticism – indeed an international public relations war is being waged against the war on drugs.”

As always, he said the “Philippines fights its battles alone, noting that the country needs no help and it fears no opposition from any quarter but it would not mind a little understanding.”

The secretary blamed past administrations for keeping the drug trade “covered.”

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