Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday that the government’s campaign against illegal drugs extends beyond the arrest of drug personalities to include also their rehabilitation.
Malacañang’s statement addressed concerns raised by the Psychological Association of the Philippines on the criminalization of drug use.
“We are not limiting our solution to the arrest of those involved in drug industry, we’re also having rehabilitation centers established all-over. So two-pronged (approach) eh, aarestuhin mo (you will arrest persons involved), and then may rehabilitation at the same time,” said Panelo in a press briefing.
Panelo also cited the gains made by the administration in the drug war, while also asking the mental health group for alternative solutions to complement the success of current efforts.
“We have reduced, dismantled a huge chunk of the illegal drug apparatus. When you say you cannot solve the drug problem, anong alternative proposal nila? Wala naman silang sinasabi (what is their alternative proposal? They’re not citing any),” he said.
Data as of November 30, 2018 showed that a total of 303,533 drug surrenderers have thus far graduated from the Duterte Administration’s Recovery and Wellness Program (RWP). RWP undertaken by both the government and the private sector across the country to provide rehabilitation and holistic treatment to illegal drug users who surrender to the government.
In the same statement, Panelo said that President Duterte’s administration has no current plans to change their policy and approach to solving the country’s drug problem and addressing drug addiction.
Drug operations have collectively seized a total of P25.19 billion worth of illegal drugs and equipment from when President Duterte’s term began in July 2016 up to November 30, 2018. Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that a total of 164,265 drug personalities were arrested in the same period.
The war on drugs is one of President Duterte’s major thrusts for his administration. When he ran for office in 2016, a cornerstone of his campaign was addressing the drug problem.