Robredo said the failure was due to law enforcers focusing on neutralizing low-level pushers rather than cutting main sources of supply.
Facebook/Leni Robredo
‘Duterte’s war on drugs a massive failure’
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With a score of just one percent, the Duterte administration’s war on drugs is a “massive failure,” Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday.

This is the gist of Robredo’s 40-page report on her 18-day stint as co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), which she made public yesterday.

Robredo said the failure was due to law enforcers focusing on neutralizing low-level pushers rather than cutting main sources of supply.

She said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was able to seize only one percent of the total methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu supply in the past three years.

“If you liken it to an exam, the government’s score is one out of 100,” Robredo said at a press conference.

“(The drug war) is really a failure. The campaign against illegal drugs has many aspects, but almost the entire funds were poured into neutralizing small-time pushers and users. They forgot to look into the aspect on where the bulk of drugs that victimize the youth and our citizens are coming from,” she added.

Citing data from the Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group, the Vice President said approximately 3,000 kilograms of shabu worth P25 billion are consumed per week, but the PDEA was only able to haul in 1,344.87 kilograms last year.

She added that the figures were even lower in 2017 and 2018 at 1,053.91 kilograms and 785.31 kilograms, respectively.

“It’s very clear that despite the huge number of Filipinos killed, only one percent of shabu supply and drug money have been seized,” Robredo said.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council, according to the Vice President, reported P1.4 billion worth of frozen assets related to the illegal drug trade from 2017 to 2018.

“This is less than one percent of estimated profits from the illegal drug trade,” Robredo said. “Supply constriction, as an aspect of the overall strategy against illegal drugs, has been a massive failure.”

The Vice President also urged President Duterte to transfer the ICAD chairmanship from the PDEA to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), which she said is more capable of leading the campaign.

“I recommend the transfer of the ICAD chairmanship to the DDB. If the DDB leads the ICAD, we can expect a balanced campaign and all aspects will be addressed,” she said.

Duterte appointed Robredo as co-chair of the ICAD in early November, following her criticism on his controversial campaign.

On Nov. 6, the Vice President accepted the President’s challenge to lead the drug war.

Despite meeting with ICAD member-agencies, including the PNP and PDEA, Robredo was not able to access confidential information related to the drug war.

The Vice President’s meetings with officials of the United States and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime apparently irked Duterte, prompting the Chief Executive to launch a series of attacks against her.

The Vice President did not resign despite President’s tirades. On Nov. 24, Duterte fired Robredo as ICAD co-chair.

Still, Robredo thanked Duterte for giving her the opportunity to become part of the ICAD even for a brief period.

“Thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to be a co-chair of the ICAD. No time was wasted in the 18 days you gave me,” she said.

The Vice President added that Duterte must pay attention to every aspect of the campaign.

“The ICAD does not need a co-chair, it needs the President’s attention. They called the drug problem a war, then the President must be the commander-in-chief,” she said.

Robredo also called for the creation of the National Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force, and for separate facilities for drug pushers and users.

“The users and pushers are placed inside the same rehabilitation centers and jail. According to the (Department of Health), this contamination results in new drug networks,” she said.

The Vice President also urged Duterte to certify as urgent bills that will fund and strengthen the anti-drug abuse councils and anti-drug abuse offices as well as measures that will institutionalize the creation of community-based drug rehabilitation in every community.

Robredo said her report was not meant to attack Duterte but to improve the drug war.

“You can still expect my continued support to solve the drug problem. I hope our countrymen can also expect you to do what is right to face the truth and to fix the ongoing campaign,” she added. – With Roel Pareño

LENI ROBREDO WAR ON DRUGS
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