MANILA–President Rodrigo Duterte’s nationwide war against illegal drugs is gaining ground.
“In a very short time, some success was achieved already,” policy consultant and University of the Philippines political science assistant professor Ranjit Rye said Tuesday (May 2) in Metro Manila at the launch of government’s #RealNumbersPH campaign on presenting facts about such war.
Latest available government data show Mr. Duterte’s war was beginning to shake the estimated Php 120-billion local illegal drugs industry, he said.
Demand for the contraband is starting to dwindle as that war reduced – by nearly 27 percent – the market of about 4.0 million drug users nationwide since some 1.2 million illegal drug personalities already surrendered to authorities, he said.
He also said authorities were able to seize, in less than a year, about Php 20 billion worth of illegal drugs.
“The supply chain was significantly disrupted at the community level,” he noted.
Crime went down, he likewise said.
Data from Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) show government’s crackdown against illegal drugs resulted in almost 29 percent reduction in index crimes nationwide.
From almost 135,000 crimes during the July 2015-March 2016 period, data show number of index crimes dipped to 96,398 crimes between July 2016 and March 2017.
Authorities linked a number of cases involving such crimes, which include rape and robbery, to use of illegal drugs.
Addressing proliferation of illegal drugs nationwide was among commitments President Duterte made during the 2016 presidential race.
He raised urgency for action, noting illegal drugs will doom the Philippines into being a narco State.
Illegal drugs would also destroy succeeding generations of Filipinos, he noted.
“I will not allow my country to go to the dogs,” he said in a recording aired during the launch.
Department of Health Sec. Paulyn Ubial cautioned about illegal drug abuse, noting this behavior reflects a mental health problem.
PDEA Director General Isidro Lapena also said illegal drugs were a national security threat for endangering the country’s future.
Rye agrees there’s urgency in addressing the country’s problem with illegal drugs.
Further citing available data, he noted illegal drug syndicates were influential and these groups’ respective networks were “vast” and already well-established in the country.
Those groups threatened to make the Philippines a narco State, he noted.
“The threat is real,” he warned.
President Duterte mounted his nationwide war against illegal drugs upon assuming the country’s highest post last year.
Despite such war’s achievements, Rye said government must think out of the box and look into more wholistic ways of eradicating illegal drugs in the country while still respecting human rights.
“We need a whole-of-nation approach,” he said, citing what he believes was the long-term solution to such menace.
He noted such approach requires all Filipino citizens’ involvement.
Government’s war against illegal drugs also needs the international community’s support, he continued.
Educating the public about illegal drugs’ ills, enhancing the criminal justice system and effectively rehabilitating drug personalities were essential in winning such war, he added.