Leni to meet with UN officers, bares ICAD plans amid lack of 'scope'
Vice President Leni Robredo addresses delegates from different countries at the 14th Indo-Pacific Federation Conference of the Theosophical Society, held at Microtel Wyndham Hotel in Quezon City on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
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Leni to meet with UN officers, bares ICAD plans amid lack of 'scope'
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - November 9, 2019 - 6:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday said she has “buckled down to work” as co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs while the scope of her job, alongside the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, has yet to be defined.

“Actually, wala pang scope...Ako, maghihintay ako kung anong nakasaad sa nakasulat, para parati tayong may babalikan,” Robredo told the media at the Indo-Pacific Federation Conference of the Theosophical Society in Quezon City on Saturday.

(Actually, there’s no scope yet. I will stand by whatever is written and codified so there’s something to hold onto.)

Issued in March 2017, EO 15 states that PDEA is the chairperson of ICAD and is responsible for ensuring the objectives of the committee and its four clusters – Enforcement, Justice, Advocacy, and Rehabilitation and Reintegration – are accomplished.

The document does not state a co-chairperson position. Even if the executive order that established ICAD was amended to include a co-chairperson position, the committee itself has no enforcement power and is limited to policy recommendations.

Robredo said this did not stop her from accepting the position. 

The vice president said she already met with government officials and is set to consult with United Nations officers on Monday on “researches and studies about best practices [and] lessons from other countries regarding the campaign against illegal drugs.”

“[A]yaw ko kasing magsayang ng oras, kaya iyong sa akin, the day na in-accept ko iyong designation, I already buckled down to work. Marami na akong mineeting. Kahapon ng umaga, ka-meeting ko si Sen. [Panfilo] Lacson. Kahapon na hapon, iyon iyong first meeting ng ICAD,” the vice president said.

(I don’t want to waste any time so for me, the day I accepted the designation, I already buckled down to work. I’m meeting with a lot of people. Yesterday, I met with Sen. Lacson in the morning and held my first meeting with ICAD later in the day.) 

Robredo said every moment counts since the remainder of her term is only two and a half years.

The important thing for now, she said, is to consider all perspectives and expand ICAD’s platform.

“[K]ailangan kong pakinggan lahat. Hindi puwedeng fini-filter iyong information, kasi gusto nating seryosohin iyong papapuntahan nito. Tingin ko mas magiging effective iyong campaign kung nararamdaman ng tao na kabahagi sila ng kampanya.”

(I need to hear everyone out. You can’t just filter the information since we want to take a serious direction. I think the campaign against illegal drugs will be more effective if people feel like they’re part of it.)

ICAD’s specific functions include ensuring the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and “arrest of high-value drug personalities down to the street-level peddlers and users”, as well as cleansing the bureaucracy of personnel involved in illegal drug activity.

The committee is also tasked with overseeing the implementation of the National Anti-Drug Plan of Action 2015-2020 and the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.

Robredo's appointment has received mixed opinions from government officials, including Director General Aaron Aquino of PDEA, the agency assigned as the chairperson of ICAD.

Aquino on Tuesday backtracked on his statement a day before he said that Robredo does not have the proper experience to lead anti-drug efforts.

"PDEA welcomes the designation of VP Leni Robredo as co-chairman of ICAD," Aquino said in a Tuesday statement.

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