Duterte brings back PNP, other gov't agencies in drug war
President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a memorandum order directing the Philippine National Police and other anti-drug agencies to resume their participation in the administration's war on drugs.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters that under the latest order the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BoC), Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost), would "resume providing active support" to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.
"The president recognizes the significant strides PDEA has made in the government’s anti-illegal campaign but it has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug-infected areas down to the municipal and barangay levels," he said.
PDEA has only about 2,000 agents.
But Roque explained PDEA would still lead the anti-drug operations.
"While PNP and other law enforcement agencies will provide active support in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, PDEA shall continue to be the overall lead agency pursuant to Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002)," he said.
PDEA, as chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), shall coordinate all government efforts in the campaign, including the "Oplan Tokhang" and Double Barrel Project if the PNP decides to bring them back, he said.
Last October, Duterte issued a memorandum circular ordering the PDEA to be the "lead" and "sole" agency to implement the campaign against narcotics amid strong criticisms against the police who were allegedly involved in extrajudicial killings.
Roque said Duterte issued the new order "in response to a clamor from the public to restore to the PNP and other law enforcement agencies the responsibility of providing active support to the PDEA."
"There has been a notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes since the PNP and other law enforcement agencies were directed to leave to the PDEA the conduct of all anti-illegal campaigns and operations," Roque said, quoting the memorandum.
The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) shall remain as the policymaking and strategy formulating body in the planning and formulation of policies and programs on drug prevention and control, he added. Celerina Monte/DMS