MANILA -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) welcomes the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) back in the government’s fight against illegal drugs.

“It is good to have the PNP and the NBI as our allied brothers. PDEA now has a full complement to wage an all-out war against the drug menace,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said in a statement over the weekend.

“The cast is now complete. PDEA, PNP, and the NBI have significant roles to perform in the anti-drug war. PDEA shall continue to be the lead authority, the NBI-Task Force Against Illegal Drugs (TFAID) can also go after high-value targets, while the PNP would concentrate on illegal drug trafficking and street-level distribution across district/provincial/city and municipal boundaries,” Aquino added.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II gave the NBI the green light to resume the conduct of anti-drug operations, investigations and case build-up for violation of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, following the issuance of DOJ Department Order (DO) No. 778 on Wednesday.

With the issuance of the DO No. 778, it revoked the earlier DO No. 670 issued last October 13, 2017 directing NBI to suspend its participation in the war on drugs.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in a memorandum ordered the PNP to rejoin the anti-drug campaign.

In ordering the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to rejoin anew in the war against illegal drugs, the President said that while PDEA has made significant strides in the government’s anti-illegal campaign, the agency “has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents, and operatives who can penetrate drug-infested areas down to the municipal and barangay levels.”

The memorandum likewise said there had been a notable resurgence of illegal drugs in the Philippines as well as crimes committed since the PNP and the other law enforcement agencies yielded to PDEA the conduct of all anti-illegal drugs operations. (PNA)