President Duterte signed on Monday, Oct. 29, Executing Order No. 66, entitled “Institutionalizing the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy”.
The measure figures into the administration’s drive against the proliferation, trade, and use of illegal drugs – a problem described in E.O. No. 66 as a ‘serious national concern – by extending the implementation of the Dangerous Drugs Board’s (DDB) Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS).
“The proliferation of prohibited drugs and their precursors is a serious national concern, encompassing social, economic, psychological and economic interests, which necessitates the active and unified involvement of various government and non-government agencies,” reads the order, detailing the immediate need for enhanced measures against the problem of illegal drugs.
Under E.O. 66, all government entities, offices, agencies, departments, bureaus, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs), are to implement the PADS, in ways in accordance with their respective mandates.
“To ensure the successful implementation of the Pads and to demonstrate our country’s resolve in confronting the issue on illegal drugs, it is necessary to ensure that government and non-government entities carry out their respective functions and tasks under the Pads,” reads the E.O.’s rationale.
The DDB, which was created through the mandate of RA No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), is the agency who formulates the PADS. Under E.O. No. 66, the DDB will also be tasked with monitoring and enforcing compliance for government agencies. As well, it will need to create a performance standard guide to evaluate the progress of the institutionalization.
All government departments and agencies must formulate their respective implementation and operation plans relative to PADS. to be submitted to the DDB within 60 days of its effectiveness. Government entities also need to formulate their own Drug-Free Workplace Programs.
Another provision of E.O. No. 66 requires that government entities conduct Authorized Drug testing among their officials and personnel. These are to be conducted in accordance with the provisions of RA. No. 9165 and circulars by the DDB and Civil Service Commission on the matter.
The same entities will likewise be required to submit to the DDB an Annual Report on the progress of their PADS implementation, to be due every February.
For the private sector, DOLE has been tasked to ensure the cooperation of different companies and corporations with E.O. No. 66. Private entities will need as well to formulate their respective Drug-Free Workplace programs and conduct Authorized Drug Testing.
E.O. No. 66 encourages the participation of LGUs in support of PADS institutionalization. These may participate by collaborating with the DOH to enhance available rehabilitation programs, work with the Philippine Drug Enforcement agency (PDEA) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to curb drug use and sale in their communities, or by strengthening the presence of their own Anti-Drug Councils. LGUs may support the new initiative in other ways not limited to these.
The DDB is also to conduct a nationwide survey every 3 years to determine drug use prevalence in the country. This will be done through assistance from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Funding for this program will be taken from the current appropriations set for the DDB.
E.O. No. 66 was published in the Official Gazette on Oct 31, 2018. It is to take effect immediately after this.