PDEA to focus on ‘high-value targets’ in anti-drug war

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday said it would focus on high-value and high-impact targets as it strengthens the resolve to win the country’s war against illegal drugs.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino called for an intensified campaign against the drug menace by conducting quality anti-illegal drug operations through the arrest of priority high-value target drug personalities.

The PDEA chief said that all operating units were given instructions to observe the following operational thrusts: identification and dismantling of clandestine shabu laboratories; arrest of high-value targets; prioritization of court duties; ensuring conviction and incarceration of drug personalities; bolstering competencies and capabilities of PDEA personnel; strengthening of the agency’s internal cleansing program; and 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.

In its monthly update on “#RealNumbers,” PDEA said that 163 drug dens and nine clandestine shabu laboratories had also been destroyed from June 2016 to September 2017.

During the same period, some PHP18.84 billion worth of illegal drugs was seized from these operations.

As of Sept. 26, a total of 2,506.93 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride with an estimated street value of PHP12.9 billion, were seized.

PDEA said authorities also arrested 113,932 individuals involved in illegal drugs from July 2016 to September 26, 2017.

Included in the total figure are 398 government workers — 175 of them elected officials, 35 uniformed personnel, and 188 government employees.

Around 76,863 anti-illegal drugs operations were conducted by by joint law enforcement agencies during the period.

Meanwhile, PDEA is also pushing for the establishment of community-based drug reformatory centers as aftercare 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.

The PDEA chief said that the agency hopes to draw a blueprint that would create doable solutions to the drug problem, in compliance with the operational directive of President Roa Duterte for the agency to make significant dents against the illegal drug trade.

Aside from PDEA, the agencies involved in the fight against illegal drugs include 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. (PNA)