PRRD wants entire gov’t to take ‘active role’ in drug war

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Tuesday he wants “the entire government machinery” to participate in the administration’s aggressive crackdown on illegal drugs.

Duterte made this remark during his lecture on drugs as a national security problem at Malacañang Palace.

“I will issue a memorandum circular directing the entire government machinery to mobilize its assets and to take an active role in government’s anti-illegal drug campaign nationwide,” Duterte said, but did not give further details.

The President added that he also wants to create a task force on anti-illegal drugs composed of different law enforcement agencies.

“What we have is the moving forward to eradicate illegal drug trade, activate a National Anti-illegal Drug Task Force,” Duterte said.

He said the task force will be composed of the personnel assets from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other agencies of the government.

“It can provide a necessary personal complement to carry out the directive of the President to the Bureau of Customs to block the flow of illegal drugs in this country,” Duterte said.

Duterte bared his plan to create an anti-illegal drugs task force after some PHP6.8 billion worth of shabu (crystal meth) slipped past the ports of Manila at the Bureau of Customs last August.

“It’s actually a national security problem kasi ‘yung dumadaan diyan sa Customs por tonelada (because the drugs that passed through Customs weigh a ton),” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, Duterte defended anew his decision to appoint former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero to head the BOC.

He also defended his decision to appoint former BOC chiefs Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Isidro Lapeña, who were transferred to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), respectively, after two separate incidents of multi-billion-peso shabu shipments slipped past the BOC under their watch.

“It’s not the fault of Faeldon. It’s not the fault of everybody else,” Duterte said.

“Until I am satisfied that law and order is established in that area, the presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be there,” he added.

Duterte said he wanted to place a military man and a few technical men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the BOC just see to it “that everything is done properly.”