CITY OF CEBU – President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs has created much safer communities nationwide, including in Cebu and the rest of the central Visayas, a regional drug enforcement official said on Tuesday. .
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) – Central Visayas Regional Director Levi Ortiz said he agreed with Duterte’s statement in his 6th and final National Address (SONA) that the government still has a “long way” in its fight against the proliferation of drugs.
Ortiz praised the president for his seriousness in the fight against drugs, which ultimately wreaked havoc on illicit drug union activities not only in the central Visayas but across the country.
âThe large seizures are now the result of the government’s relentless efforts in our drug campaign. In the previous administration we might have had some accomplishments as well, but it’s like playing cat and mouse. An endless pursuit. We catch one drug dealer, another emerges, âOrtiz told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
Under the clear leadership of the current administration to law enforcement agencies in terms of drug efforts, the government has started to seize a large volume of drugs.
âNot only are we arresting the big traffickers and seizing tons of drugs, we can also measure our success by the number of barangays we’ve cleared of illegal drugs. The Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) provides a practical and feasible measure to help barangays become drug resistant and self-control and it’s a national approach, âOrtiz said.
He said the effort to clear customs down to the village level was the reason drug figures were surrendering, a strategy that is making headway.
He said that in more than 20 years in law enforcement, this was unprecedented, “the first time that the fight against drugs has really been a priority and that a significant reduction in the drug allocation has been made. really felt by the community “.
Ortiz said every Filipino “can see the success of the drug war if you walk around the barangays,” while noting that before there were well-known “drug lords” in every region but across the country. At present, “all or almost all of them are neutralized (arrested or dead) or in hiding”.
âYes, we still have a lot of barangays to clear illegal drugs in region 7, but we have achieved a lot since the president took office. The streets are safer and many drug addicts have volunteered for community drug rehab and many previously well-known drug dealers are either arrested, in hiding or have died, âhe said.
Ortiz said before Duterte’s presidency, “there were barangays that were really dangerous but are now safe.”
The PDEA, as the country’s first anti-drug agency, is not exempt from internal cleansing, in support of the president’s desire to rid the government of officials who are either directly involved in drug trafficking or at least acting as “protectors,” he mentioned.
Duterte said in Monday’s SONA: âKaya ‘yan ang masakit sa loob ko (that’s why I’m upset). I didn’t know I was fighting my own government. Customs and everybody else made it easy to import drugs. And an import, as you can see every night on television, police now seize nearly a billion drugs every day. “
The president, he said, refers to government officials or personnel who are involved in illegal drug-related activities.
“This is why even within the PDEA, we are still monitoring our staff and the CEO (managing director) does an internal cleaning to remove bad eggs from the agency,” Ortiz said.
When asked if he thought officials and employees were involved in drug trafficking, Ortiz replied: “Maybe.” However, he said that at present PDEA-7 has not received such reports.
âI hope it stays that way. There are many social media complaints platforms where citizens can easily report people involved in illegal drugs. And that’s a big help outside of our usual monitoring system. to identify public officials or government personnel involved in illegal drugs, âOrtiz said.
Duterte has continuously garnered the support of the people of the Central Visayas in the fight against drugs, he noted.
Ortiz said many internet users were reporting drug-related activity on social media, and most barangays were also doing their best to clear their area of ââresponsibility for illegal drugs through the BDCP.
In Cebu City alone, 76 of 80 villages have implemented a community-based rehabilitation program (CBRP), while 14 barangays in the central Visayas were cleared of drugs in May this year. (ANP)