MANILA — Authorities have dismantled a total of 172 clandestine shabu laboratories and drug dens in the country as part of the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
This was bared by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the official agency tasked to provide the “real numbers” operations and arrested personalities in line with the Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drugs drive.
In its monthly update on “#RealNumbers”, PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said from June 2016 up to October 25, 2017, 163 drug dens and 9 clandestine shabu laboratories were dismantled while different illegal drugs were seized worth PHP18.85 billion, with an increase of PHP11.57 million compared to last month.
As of October 25, 2017, a total of 2,509.22 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as “shabu,” with an estimated street value of PHP12.91 billion were seized, posting an increase of PHP11.38 million compared to 2,506.93 kilos seized last month with an estimated street value of PHP12.9 billion.
PDEA said authorities also arrested 117,044 individuals involved in illegal drugs from July 2016 to October 25, 2017.
Included in the total figure are 420 government workers – 181 of them elected officials, 36 uniformed personnel, and 203 government employees.
Around 77,468 anti-illegal drugs operations were conducted by joint law enforcement agencies during the period.
As of October 25, 2017, the consolidated report showed that 3,967 drug suspects have died during operations while 86 were killed in action and 225 wounded from the law enforcement agency during the anti-illegal drugs operations.
Aside from PDEA, agencies involved in the anti-illegal drugs operations are the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) among others.
Law enforcement agencies rescued 589 minors during anti-illegal drugs operations from July 2016 to October 25, 2017.
According to the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD), those rescued minors, after court proceedings, will be endorsed to the Bahay Pagasa centers of local government units (LGUs) within eight hours of police custody, before turning them over to the DSWD centers to undergo counselling to help reform them back to society.
Since they are minors, DSWD said they would not be put in prison together with hardened criminals.
After being designated by President Duterte as the lead agency in the ongoing war on drugs, Aquino said PDEA will focus on high-value and high-impact targets as it strengthens its resolve to win the country’s war against illegal drugs.
Aquino called for an intensified campaign against the drug menace by conducting quality anti-illegal drug operations through the arrest of priority high-value targeted drug personalities.
The PDEA chief said that all operating units were given instructions to observe the following operational thrusts:
1) identification and dismantling of clandestine shabu laboratories; 2) arrest of high-value targets; 3) prioritization of court duties; ensuring conviction and incarceration of drug personalities; 4) bolstering competencies and capabilities of PDEA personnel; 5) strengthening of agency’s internal cleansing program; and 6) reformation of drug users.
“One of the agenda would be the strengthening of PDEA’s internal cleansing program through continued internal counter-intelligence efforts and lifestyle checks among our ranks to maintain the Agency’s integrity and moral ascendancy,” Aquino said in a statement.
PDEA is also pushing for the establishment of community-based drug reformatory centers as after-care shelters for thousands of drug surrenderers nationwide.
“We need to establish refuges to usher thousands of drug surrenderers on the road to recovery. These centers have the capacity to rebuild their shattered lives and make themselves whole again,” he said.
Aquino said PDEA is cognizant of the challenges posed by the enormity of the country’s drug problem in the Implementation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002.
“Though undermanned, underequipped and inadequately funded, PDEA will deliver tangible results, even more than is expected of us,” the PDEA chief noted.
The PDEA chief assured a less bloody anti-drug war and adherence to the rule of law in performing its mandate.
“From body-worn cameras to accompanying media presence, these would ensure a culture of transparency in our day-to-day operations in the streets,” he said.
With only 1,038 agents, Aquino said the agency would coordinate with the DILG and local government units for the continuation of drug-clearing efforts in barangays.
“The obvious lack of personnel is indeed a point of concern since our presence is only on the regional level and with some skeletal provincial offices. But we will closely link up with the barangays for the continuation of the barangay drug-clearing program,” he said.