Drug war continues, but with a ‘new face’

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Drug war continues, but with a �new face�
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on July 21, 2023.
(Pool photos by KJ Rosales / The Philippine STAR)

MANILA, Philippines — The administration is continuing the drug war with a “new face,” President Marcos said yesterday, as he revealed that he would be accepting the resignation of law enforcers who are into the narcotics trade.

In his second State of the Nation Address, Marcos said the anti-drug campaign is now geared toward community-based treatment, rehabilitation, education and reintegration to curb drug dependence among those affected by the problem.

He cited the launching of the Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan or BIDA Program and the establishment of additional 102 Balay Silangan Reformation Centers nationwide.

“The campaign against illegal drugs continues – but it has taken on a new face,” the President said.

Last May, Marcos acknowledged that abuses had been committed by some government personnel in the previous administration’s war on drugs.

More than 6,000 suspected drug offenders were killed in the controversial drug war of former president Rodrigo Duterte, who had emphasized the importance of enforcement in the campaign.

Despite the change in approach, Marcos gave assurance that the government would continue to fight narcotics syndicates and shut down their operations. ?“Unscrupulous law enforcers and others involved in the highly nefarious drug trade have been exposed. I will be accepting their resignations. In their stead, we will install individuals with unquestionable integrity, who will be effective and trustworthy in handling the task of eliminating this dreaded and corrosive social curse,” the Chief Executive said without elaborating.

“We cannot tolerate corruption or incompetence in government,” he added.

Earlier, the Marcos administration created a committee that would review the records of all police officers to cleanse the Philippine National Police (PNP) of personnel with links to drug syndicates.

The members of the committee included then PNP chief Rodolfo Azurin, defense chief Gilbert Teodoro Jr., Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and retired police general and Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Isagani Neres.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos had asked generals and full colonels of the PNP to submit their courtesy resignations, citing the need to determine the supposed involvement of some law enforcers in the narcotics trade.

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