SEIZED DRUGS. The anti-narcotics campaign results in the seizure of around PHP30.9 billion worth of illegal drugs in 2022, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported on Tuesday (Feb 7, 2023). The PDEA also resolved 25,306 drug-related cases last year. (Contributed photo)

MANILA — Around PHP30.9 billion worth of illegal drugs have been seized during the conduct of over 37,000 law enforcement operations in 2022, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

This was revealed by Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil in a news release, citing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's (PDEA) 2022 accomplishment report presented to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

"The government’s intensified anti-narcotics campaign has resulted to the seizure of some PHP30.9 billion worth of illegal drugs in 2022, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.," Garafil said.

"The PDEA reported that among the commonly used drugs include methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, marijuana and methylenedioxymethamphetamine or ecstasy, with majority of those arrested last year were involved in shabu-related cases," she added.

Garafil noted that apart from the multi-billion worth of drugs seized by law enforcement agencies, the PDEA also destroyed around PHP27.8 billion worth of various dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECS).

"Some 237 marijuana sites were also eradicated, resulting in the destruction of PHP738.6 million worth of marijuana plants and derivatives," she added citing the PDEA report.

Garafil said drug syndicates are exploiting the country’s archipelagic nature, transporting illegal drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals through seaports, airports, mail and parcel services and the vast expanse of the Philippine coastlines.

The intensified anti-narcotics crackdown, Garafil said, also led to the arrest of 53,002 drug personalities.

Garafil said the PDEA, the country's lead agency in the government's campaign against illegal drugs, also "actively" helped in the prosecution of drug personalities nationwide and filed around 45,850 drug cases in 2022.

"And out of 25,306 resolved cases last year, PDEA said 21,112 or 83 percent resulted in convictions while 1,439 cases or 6 percent were dismissed by the courts," she said.

Preventive education, community involvement

Garafil said the PDEA, in an effort to reduce demand for illegal drugs, conducted around 257,588 Preventive Education and Community Involvement (PECI) activities and established 111 Balay Silangan Reformation Centers, producing around 2,000 graduates and employing 894 individuals.

She said more than 300,000 Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs) in drug-cleared villages also underwent community-based drug rehabilitation programs, while 67,045 PWUDs were given intervention programs.

"Looking forward, PDEA is strengthening the implementation of its anti-illegal drugs strategies, particularly focusing on suppressing supply by intensifying the conduct of intelligence-driven and high-impact operations, arrest of top-level drug personalities, enhancing inter-agency collaboration and strengthening efforts in drug entry points to deter smuggling," Garafil said.

"PDEA is also working for drug demand reduction by conducting National Anti-Drug Advocacy Campaign, forging close coordination with Anti-Drug Abuse Councils, supporting community-based drug rehabilitation programs, and intensifying information dissemination to promote-stigma-free campaign and to assist PWUDs," she added.

The current administration is taking a new approach when it comes to handling the rampant narcotics trade, after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said he is focusing on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.

Malacañang has also ensured that the Marcos administration will adhere to the rule of law while sustaining the fight against illegal drugs. (PNA)