Drug war not limited to arrests but also rehab: Palace

By EJ Roque

January 8, 2019, 7:58 pm

MANILA -- The government's campaign against illegal drugs is not limited to arresting personalities involved in using and selling illegal drugs but include rehabilitation centers for them, Malacañang said Tuesday.

"We are not limiting our solution to the arrest of those involved in drug industry, we're also having rehabilitation centers established all-over. So two-pronged (approach) eh, aarestuhin mo (you will arrest persons involved), and then may rehabilitation at the same time," Presidential Spokesperson Salvado Panelo said in a press briefing.

Sought for reaction on the statement issued by the Psychological Association of the Philippines which said criminalizing drug users is ineffective in solving the drug problem, Panelo cited the gains of the administration's drug war and asked for an alternative solution from the group.

"We have reduced, dismantled a huge chunk of the illegal drug apparatus. When you say you cannot solve the drug problem, anong alternative proposal nila? Wala naman silang sinasabi (what is their alternative proposal? They're not citing any)," he said.

Panelo said the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has no intentions of changing the current policy against drug addiction.

Latest data, as of Nov. 30, 2018, showed that a total of 303,533 drug surrenderers have graduated from the Duterte administration's Recovery and Wellness Program (RWP), undertaken both by the government and the private sector across the country, as part of the administration’s campaign to holistically address the illegal drug problem.

Authorities have seized a total of PHP25.19 billion worth of illegal drugs and equipment since July 2016 or the start of President Duterte's term up to Nov. 30, 2018, data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed while the total count of drug personalities arrested in the same period is at 164,265.

Addressing the drug problem is one of President Duterte's major campaign promises when he ran for office in 2016.

Duterte was unyielding in pounding strong words against individuals, including his fellow public servants engaged in the illicit drug trade, which left millions of lives in shambles and many families dysfunctional. (PNA)