MANILA – Authorities have seized a total of PHP75 billion worth of narcotics across the country since the start of the Duterte administration's crackdown on illegal drugs in mid-2016.
In its latest Real Numbers data as of January 31 and released on Wednesday night, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the amount includes PHP63.22 billion worth of shabu.
Authorities have seized 8,170.51 kilograms (kg.) of shabu, 4,205.76 kgs of marijuana, 22.56 kg. of ecstasy, 534.20 kg. of cocaine, and 3,483.04 kg. of other dangerous drugs while dismantling a total of 1,008 drug dens and 18 clandestine shabu laboratories from July 2016 to January 2022.
A total of 14,389 high-value targets across the country were arrested since the anti-illegal drugs campaign was launched on July 1, 2016.
The figure includes 6,319 HVTs arrested from high impact operations, 3,989 target-listed suspects, 1,498 drug den maintainers, 797 drug group leaders/members, 522 government employees, 396 elected officials, 352 foreigners, 291 included on wanted lists, 126 uniformed personnel, 75 armed group members and 24 prominent personalities.
Authorities also arrested 327,039 individuals involved in illegal drugs during the period.
As of January this year, the consolidated report showed 6,229 drug suspects have died during 226,662 anti-illegal drug operations.
From July 2016 to January 2022, authorities also arrested 4,170 minors. This can be broken down into 2,487 pushers; 979 possessors; 441 users; 232 visitors of drug den; nine drug den maintainers; 17 drug den employees, two cultivators, one clan lab employee, and two runners.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the rescued minors, after court proceedings, will be turned over to the Bahay Pag-asa centers of LGUs within eight hours of police custody, before turning them over to the DSWD.
Since they are minors, the DSWD said they would not be put behind bars together with hardened criminals.
At least 24,303 out of the 42,045 barangays (villages) have been declared drug-cleared as of January 2022 while 6,613 barangays were drug unaffected/drug-free barangays and 11,129 have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs.
These barangays have reached drug-cleared status after the issuance of a certification by members of the oversight committee on barangay drug-Clearing program.
The agency assured that the health and safety of its agents are prioritized in anti-drug operations.
Earlier, PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva said the 'Barangay PDEA' program aims to promote a "balanced and humane" anti-drug campaign as it provides the public a more comprehensive platform of information on the harm reduction initiatives of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) like the Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program and Balay Silangan, both drug intervention programs for surrendering drug users and pushers to help them reintegrate in the society and become productive citizens.
Villanueva also vowed to go after village chiefs who fail to establish their own barangay drug abuse councils (BADACs).
Villanueva said PDEA, as the lead agency against illegal drugs, has adopted a three-pronged strategy in the national anti-drug campaign which focuses on reducing its supply, demand, and harmful effects.
The agency has created a barangay drug clearing program working group for monitoring and validation to fast-track drug-clearing operations in the communities and prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs in the barangays.
Shabu prices now P6.9-M per kilo
The market value of shabu has now soared to PHP6.9 million per kilogram from PHP6.8 million due to dwindling supply in the market.
"Its value in the local market, the street value, is PHP6.8 million before. Now, it rose due to crisis (in supply)... It's now PHP6.9 million per kilo. So we pegged the value of 60 kilos to PHP414 million...The is now different because the prevailing price now is P6.9 (million per kilo)," PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva said in a press conference on Wednesday night.
In the same briefing, Villanueva presented drug peddler Jalon Laureta, who yielded 60 kgs. of shabu in a buy-bust operation in Marilao, Bulacan earlier on Wednesday.
He also said the Illegal drug trade will continue in the country as long as there are drug addicts.
“Hindi talaga mauubos yan (illegal drugs) hanggang may adik sa Pilipinas. Hanggang may adik tayo papasukin pa rin tayo ng droga (This will not really run out as long as there are addicts in the Philippines. As long as there are addicts, illegal drugs will continue to enter the country),’’ Villanueva pointed out.
Prior to the Duterte administration, Villanueva stressed that there were four million drug addicts but the situation in the country has improved tremendously, specifically pointing to the government’s barangay drug clearing program.
“Doon talaga tayo papunta (drug clearing) hanggang ubusin talaga natin. Mabigyan natin ng second chance itong mga adik na ito para hindi na sila gagamit (illegal drugs) pero habang may adik, meron droga maniwala kayo (This is where we are going until the illegal drugs are gone. We give the addicts a second chance to spare them from using drugs anew but while there are addicts there will always be illegal drugs, believe me),’’ he emphasized.
Further, Villanueva noted the country’s improved illegal drug campaign with only 11,129 out of the 42,045 barangays remaining drug-affected, adding that PDEA in cooperation with the other law enforcement agencies gearing for more barangays to be drug cleared.
“At least bago grumaduate ang ating Presidente at least mabawasan pa yang 11,129 barangays (before the President ends his term at least the 11,129 barangays drug affected barangays will be further reduced),’’ the PDEA chief stressed.
Villanueva noted that what they are doing right now in their bid to thwart the entry of illegal drugs into the country is the “holistic approach’’.
“Just like what happened in Zambales. Sa Zambales 500 kilos pumasok. Hindi dumaan sa (Bureau of) Customs yun (In Zambales 500 kilos got through. This did not get through Customs),’’ Villanueva disclosed that this was coursed through the waters.
The PDEA chief emphasized that big-time drug dealers finding the unlawful trade lucrative will find ways to deliver their contraband to the drug addicts with illegal drugs equivalent to large sums of money. (PNA)