MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday reaffirmed ts commitment to the government’s war against illegal drugs.
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a memorandum designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the lead agency to carry out anti-illegal drugs operations in the country.
“The AFP has always been in support role to PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in any illegal drugs operations, unless we are otherwise requested to lead especially in conflict-affected areas,” AFP public affairs office chief. Col. Edgard Arevalo, said in a statement.
In February, AFP and PDEA signed a memorandum of agreement in a bid to strengthen anti-narcotics operations, especially in conflict-affected areas, particularly where conditions for insurgency, secessionism, and terrorism are prevalent.
The military also expanded the Joint Counterintelligence Task Force (JCTF) NOAH, an ad hoc unit created and mandated by the AFP to conduct drugs-related counterintelligence operations.
NOAH assists law enforcement agencies in the identification, investigation, and neutralization of persons in the use, sale, manufacture, and distribution of illegal drugs.
In addition, the military has also formed regional task groups under its unified commands to coordinate direct action, intelligence, legal support, and community relations to PDEA, as force employer, and its regional offices nationwide.
From July 2016 to September 2017, these task groups have conducted a total 6,891 operations which resulted in the killing of 146 drug suspects and arrest of 1,241.
Joint raids of drug laboratories also yielded a total of PHP1.9-billion shabu manufacturing equipment which have greatly hampered the production of methamphetamine in the country while more than 52 kilos of shabu were also confiscated in the operations.
Internal security operations conducted against terror groups also resulted in the neutralization of several drug suspects in Mindanao.
“I commend our soldiers for their professional and efficient intelligence and manpower support afforded to PDEA and the PNP in their anti-illegal drugs operations. Rest assured that despite our focus on our mandate to address internal and external threats to the country, we will not lose sight on the drugs scourge and will actively support PDEA in its endeavors,” AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año said.