MANILA – Police authorities seized more than PHP70 million worth of illegal drugs in the first two weeks of 2023, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said on Monday.
“On our aggressive anti-illegal drugs campaign, during the opening weeks of 2023, from January 1- 14, an aggregate amount of PHP70,143,351.96 worth of illegal drugs was seized by PNP units in 1,518 separate anti-illegal drugs operations across the country. These operations resulted in the arrest of 2,092 persons for violation of different provisions of RA (Republic Act) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and were subsequently charged in court,” Azurin told reporters in a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Citing data as of Jan. 12, Azurin said a total of 26,883 barangays across the country have been cleared of illegal drugs under the Barangay Drug Clearing Program's whole-of-nation approach.
"This translates to 75.97 percent of the total of 35,385 barangays that were previously tagged as drug-affected. I commend the collective efforts of government agencies, especially those who work to attain this notable achievement," he added.
Azurin noted that these accomplishments in the government's anti-drug campaign disprove speculations of low morale among police officers, amid the call for third-level officials to tender their courtesy resignations as part of internal cleansing measures.
929 out of 953
In the same briefing, Azurin disclosed that a total of 929 out of 953 colonels and generals have already submitted their courtesy resignations.
There are currently 956 colonels and generals in the PNP but three of them reportedly opted not to file anymore since they will be retiring this month or before the Jan. 31 deadline.
"With this overwhelming response, I would like to express my satisfaction, admiration, and respect to all these fine gentlemen for heeding the call for change and reformation in the police organization and for putting the interest of the nation on top and over personal desires and considerations," he added.
As to those who would not file a courtesy resignation, Azurin said that they will deal with them after Jan. 31.
He said that the goal of this process is to achieve the highest standards of professionalism within the PNP.
"So we expect that our men on the ground will continue to focus on their work. In the near future, we expect it will be a better performance for the PNP. Once the officers are cleared (of suspicion of illegal drugs involvement), they will have moral ascendancy in this campaign and I believe that they themselves will not allow that they would be dragged again into this controversy," he added.
Stick to ethics
Amid the issues and challenges faced by the police force, Azurin also reminded police officers to maintain a strong ethical foundation and uphold their commitment to the highest standards of integrity, honesty and accountability.
"I want to remind our PNP personnel that ethics is not just important within the police organization, but in all aspects of our life. Hence, I encourage each one of you to reflect on your own personal and professional conduct and to strive to be the best versions of yourselves," Azurin said during the celebration of PNP's 29th Ethics Day.
He also reminded police officers of their sacred duty of serving and protecting the people.
“Lagi nating isapuso ang responsibilidad na nakasalalay sa ating mga kamay ang kaligtasan ng bawat Pilipino na umaasa sa ating serbisyo. Magsilbi tayong mabuting ehemplo sa ating mga kapwa pulis, huwarang pulis na may disiplina, respeto, integridad at pagmamahal sa sinumpaang tungkulin (Let us always take to heart the responsibility that lies in our hands for the safety of every Filipino who relies on our service. Let's serve as a good example to our fellow police officers, exemplary police officers with discipline, respect, integrity and love for the sworn duty),” the country’s top cop added.
This year's Ethics Day observance carries the theme “Serbisyong, may Malasakit, Kaayusan at Kapayapaan tungo sa Kaunlaran, Handog ng Pambansang Pulisya Kabalikat ang Simbahan at Pamayanan”.
While the internal cleansing is underway, Azurin assured that the PNP is always committed to fair and honest enforcement of the laws, and will always strive to treat all members of the society with the utmost respect and highest dignity of human lives. (PNA)