PBBM sees progress in PH’s anti-narcotics campaign

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

March 13, 2024, 9:48 pm

<p>(File photo)</p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines is making progress in curbing illegal drugs, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday, as he touted his administration’s different approach to address the problem.

During his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Germany, Marcos said the recalibrated anti-narcotics campaign seems to be effective, even though the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Philippines remains a problem.

“It’s a big problem, but our approach has changed significantly,” Marcos told Scholz after the latter inquired on his approach to illegal drugs in relation to the previous administration.

“I diametrically opposed to handling the drug problem in that way, by confrontation, by violence and it really requires so much, much deeper understanding on the problem and the much deeper solution. So, yes, I think that we are also progressing when it comes to that,” he added.

Marcos noted the decrease in cases of illegal drug operations in the Philippines because of the intensified anti-narcotics drive.

He added that part of the reforms is the reorganization of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to get rid of police officers involved “in some of the more nefarious practices” that were undertaken during the previous administration.

“We are starting to move them out, and some of them have already been tried and convicted, now in jail and serving their time. It’s a difficult problem because it’s the money involved is so much that it’s hard for the government to compete with the kind of money that’s been thrown around by the drug lords,” Marcos said.

As of January 2024, around 65 police officers were dismissed after testing positive for illegal drug use, while 43 others were axed for being involved in illegal drugs, data from the PNP showed.

The PNP also reported that it had confiscated around PHP10.4 billion worth of narcotics in 2023 and cleared 27,968 villages nationwide of drug influence.

Around 56,495 suspects were also arrested after conducting more than 44,000 anti-illegal drug operations.

The Marcos administration’s new approach to addressing illegal drugs is focused on rehabilitation, reintegration, and preventive education programs, specifically for the youth. (PNA)