Sotto calls on PDEA to think of more serious strategy to reduce drug demand

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) should consider a more serious strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs in the country, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

Sotto, who once led the Dangerous Drugs Board, issued the call Wednesday after President Duterte admitted that the drug situation in the Philippines has “worsened” despite his administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)

“If we want to win the fight against illegal drugs, [the] government thru PDEA, must pursue a stronger more serious demand reduction strategy program. Otherwise, enforcement will be for naught,” the Senate chief said in a text message to reporters.

He particularly reiterated his call for a “stronger more serious preventive education and rehabilitation program”, aside from continuing the law enforcement and prosecution against illegal drugs.

Sotto said this will reduce drug “addicts”, and therefore, drug pushers.

“It’s the law of supply and demand,” he explained.

Duterte lamented about the worsening drug problem in the country following the recent seizure of more than P1-billion worth of illegal drugs by authorities.

“You can see the headlines — every day billions worth of drugs are entering the country. Look at the main screen and the crawler, the running news at the bottom. It’s always about drugs, drugs, and drugs,” he said during his visit to Cagayan de Oro City last Sunday.

“Things have worsened. My policemen are at the brink of surrendering,” he added.

Sotto, however, believed the President’s statements do not mean that he is yielding in his war against drugs.

He said Duterte may have expressed these out of “frustration perhaps, not weakness.”