Go backs proposed budget for PDEA, DDB in anti-illegal drugs campaign

Published September 30, 2020, 10:01 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has given his support for the proposed 2021 budgets of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) which have the common goal of addressing the proliferation of illegal drugs and drug-related crimes in the country. 

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

During a budget hearing by the Senate Finance  sub-committee, Go urged PDEA to ensure that all drug-related issues are being dealt with accordingly.

He stressed the importance of the campaign to President Duterte who has repeatedly called for the eradication of illegal drug activities in the country. 

“Importante po kay Pangulong Duterte na ma-eliminate itong problema natin sa droga. Sa nalalabing panahon po niya bilang pangulo, we have to be relentless and intensify our operations against illegal drugs, our campaign against illegal drugs. Sugpuin ninyo ang mga organisasyon at mga sindikato na involved sa illegal na droga,” Go said in his manifestation. (It is important for President Duterte to see that the illegal drugs problem is eliminated. During the remaining term of the President, defeat organizations and syndicates involved in illegal drugs.)

“Alam po ito ni [PDEA] Director General Wilkins Villanueva Matagal po siyang nanungkulan sa Davao noon. And, of course, mas alam po ng ating Chairman [Panfilo Lacson], kung paano sugpuin ang illegal na droga,” he continued. (PDEA Director Wilkins Villanueva had served for a long period in Davao. Our Committee chairman (Panfilo M. Lacson) knows how to fight illegal drug operations.)

Lacson, also chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security Committee, had served as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

Go acknowledged that anti-illegal drug operations are just one aspect of a multifaceted solution to a complex problem, the other being recovery and rehabilitation. 

He lamented about the lives being destroyed by illegal drugs and called for drug dependents to be treated as victims in dire need of medical, psychological, and spiritual help. He insisted on giving them a chance to recover and be reintegrated into society as healthy and productive citizens. 

He said the government’s ultimate goal must be to eliminate the negative impacts of drug abuse in society while implementing sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation as an integral part of the unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs.  

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go has made the rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependents a legislative priority.

Last year, he filed Senate Bill No. 399 which mandates the establishment of a drug treatment and rehabilitation center in every province in the country. He also defended the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) 2020 budget and supported an increase in the budget for the operation of the treatment and rehabilitation centers as proposed by Senate President Tito Sotto.

The senator from Davao urged the DDB, the body responsible for planning and formulating policies and programs on drug prevention and control, to work closely with the DOH in order for the government to completely succeed in its efforts against the evils brought about by illegal drugs, and to cure the victims of their addiction.

Earlier this year, he backed calls for the reimposition of the death penalty after President Duterte reiterated his desire for the swift passage of a law reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for heinous crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.