By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is elated by Sri Lanka’s admiration of its war on illegal drugs although it has not yet considered hanging drug dealers like the South Asian nation planned.
“We are happy that other countries have taken note of our war on drugs and that they look upon us as best practice on dealing with illegal drugs. We appreciate that,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
Sri Lanka earlier announced that it would start hanging drug dealers amid efforts to “replicate the success” of the Philippines’ brutal war on drugs. The decision was reportedly reached amid the growing drug problem in Sri Lanka, which has reportedly become a transshipment point for smuggling narcotics.
Roque said while they appreciate Sri Lanka’s approval of the local anti-drug campaign, the government has yet to implement death penalty in the country due to absence of a law.
He said the administration has instead applied political will and used law enforcement to combat illegal drug trade.
“Well tingin ko hindi pa tayo dumating sa punto na binibitay natin sila. Nandoon pa lang tayo sa punto na talagang ginagamit natin ang kapulisan, PDEA at ang nbi at ginagamit ang political will para labanan ang nagtutulak ng droga [Well, I think we have not reached the point that we are hanging drug dealers. We are still t the point that we are using the police, PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation). We are also using political will to fight drug pushers],” he said.
So far, Roque said the government has made strides in the anti-drug efforts, citing the billions worth of illegal drugs seized by authorities.
But he acknowledged that the war on drugs is not yet over, and stressed the need to step up the campaign to dismantle drug syndicates.
He said even President Duterte has admitted that the government has not yet won the drug war but hopes to issue a declaration of victory by the end of his term.
As of June 30, 4,354 drug suspects were killed while 147,802 personalities have been arrested in the government’s anti-drug operations.
Authorities have also seized 2,738.73 kilograms of shabu worth P14.66 billion in since June 2016.
Around 6,562 barangays have been declared drug-free by the government.