MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that President Rodrigo Duterte would still be able to fulfill his promise of a drug-free Philippines before he steps down in 2022.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Catalino Cuy said achieving a drug-free Philippines by 2022 is no longer a realistic goal.
Roque said Duterte’s promise is still attainable with the cooperation of local government units (LGUs), noting that 20,538 out of 42,045 barangays in the country are already drug-free.
"Kampante pa rin po tayo kung makikipagtulungan po talaga ang lokal na pamahalaan, na iyong natitirang 14,308 barangays ay magiging drug free pa rin pagdating po ng pagtapos ng termino ng ating Presidente (We remain confident if the local government would really cooperate that the remaining 14,303 villages will still become drug free after the term of our President)," Roque said.
Duterte's campaign promise was to end the drug menace in six months, a timeline that he later on extended until the end of his term.
Last week, Duterte urged law enforcement forces to stay vigilant as the war on drugs continues despite the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Duterte made this call as he led the destruction of PHP7.51 billion worth of illegal drugs in Trece Martires City, Cavite.
He emphasized the need to remain steadfast in the campaign not only by intensifying operations against drug trafficking, but also by reforming the criminal justice system and addressing the root cause of drug abuse and dependency.
Duterte also promised to work harder to prevent the movement of illicit drugs smuggled into the country by land, air, or sea.
“We will continue to work even harder not only to suppress the supply of narcotics in our streets, but also to prevent our country from being used as a trans-shipment point for illegal drug trade in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
Duterte urged the law enforcement forces, the prosecution service, and the judiciary to never waver in efforts to end the menace that has caused “immeasurable harm” to the lives of users and their families.
“We already accomplished a lot in the past four years, and we can accomplish more in the next years to come. Ending illegal drug trade means securing the future of our nation. Together, let us make a drug-free Philippines the greatest legacy that we can leave behind to our children and the succeeding generations,” he said. (PNA)