DDB sets stricter guidelines in enforcement of drug clearing programs in controlled facilities

Published October 1, 2020, 2:31 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) has set a regulation that provides guidelines in the enforcement of “drug clearing programs in controlled facilities for Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs).’’

Based on the regulation, the DDB noted that detention facilities supervised and managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Local Government Units (LGUs) should create a Drug-Free Workplace Program Committee to implement the drug clearing program.

“Controlled facilities or jails nationwide are directed to clear its premises from illegal drug activities and secure their drug-cleared or drug-free status, twelve months from now,’’ the DDB statement read.

This includes the conduct of drug testing and surprise search and seizure operations.

“The regulation requires search and seizure operations to be unannounced and implemented on the whole facility with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). All jail personnel and PDL found in possession of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals (CPECs) shall be criminally and administratively charged and prosecuted,’’ the DDB statement added.

In the same statement, the DDB stressed that personnel of detention facilities shall undergo mandatory drug tests at least once a year while PDLs shall undergo drug tests based on random sampling.

The DDB added that personnel who will be found positive for drug use will be dealt with in accordance with the provision of DDB Regulation No. 7, Series of 2003, as amended or the general guidelines for the implementation of mandatory drug testing to officers and members of the military, police, and other law enforcement agencies.

Also, PDLs who will be found positive for drug use after a confirmatory test shall undergo intervention either through Therapeutic Community Modality Program or Balay Silangan.

DDB Chairman Catalino S. Cuy noted that the proliferation of illegal drugs and drug related incidents in the jails pose serious “threat to the health, reformation, and rehabilitation of persons deprived of liberty.”

“This is why under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy or PADS, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have been directed to enhance anti-illegal drug measures in their detention facilities,’’ Cuy said.

Even before the issuance of the DDB regulation, BJMP Director Allan Iral said the bureau has consistently conducted various anti-drug operation schemes in its jail-run facilities.

Aside from the routine“Greyhound Operations’’, Iral noted “the massive anti drug education programs and intelligence gathering to fight illegal drugs in jails’’ will be relentlessly pursued.

Reinforcing support to BuCor and BJMP

In December last year, the DDB turned over P8.5 million worth of financial assistance to the BuCor for the establishment of a drug treatment and rehabilitation facility inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

The BJMP also received an initial amount of P15 million for the construction of a drug rehabilitation facility within the BJMP compound in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

In the last quarter of 2020, the DDB said that another P15 million will be released to the BJMP for the construction of another facility in Argao District Jail, Cebu for Visayas.

“As programmed, one more facility shall be constructed for Luzon. We encourage all jails to institute treatment and rehabilitation programs in their facilities,” said Cuy.

Parameters for declaring drug-cleared or drug-free detention facilities

The DDB pointed out that the regulation also provides for the creation of an oversight committee in every region that will issue and approve resolutions for the declaration of drug-cleared or drug-free controlled facilities.

It added the committee is also tasked to validate and determine if parameters required to declare a facility drug-cleared or drug-free is maintained.

“A facility can be declared as drug-cleared if it implements the drug-free workplace program. Drug tests conducted on PDL and all jail personnel shall also have negative results and there shall be zero incidents of confiscation and seizure of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia or CPECs including unauthorized electronic or digital communication devices that can be used to facilitate illegal drug transaction,’’ the DDB said.

“This should be observed in the detention facility for at least three search and seizure operations within six months prior to the filing of the application with the oversight committee. There shall also be continuous implementation of therapeutic modality programs or Balay Silangan as interventions for PDL,’’ it added.

Cuy explained that PDEA will monitor the nationwide implementation of drug clearing programs in the controlled facilities.

He noted that PDEA will be assisted by the  BJMP, BuCor and administrators of provincial jails of the provincial government.