The 2016 survey results that indicated the presence of 1.8 million drug users in the country were most likely correct.
Vice President Leni Robredo gave this takeaway on Sunday, Oct. 25, following Malacañang’s confirmation of the results of a recent Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) survey that pegged the number of Filipino drug users at 1.67 million.
“Kinukuwestyon nila 2016 survey, hindi daw maayos yung pag-survey pero pinapakita ng datos na yun yung magkalapit eh. ‘Yun ‘yung mukha ng drug addiction dito sa Pilipinas,” Robredo said on her radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni” over DZXL.
(They were questioning the 2016 survey. They claimed it wasn’t done properly but the data showed that it had the closest figures. That’s the face of drug addiction in the Philippines.)
The year 2016 was the final year of the presidency of Benigno S. Aquino III, Robredo’s fellow Liberal Party (LP) member. It was June 30 that year when President Duterte took over and introduced an aggressive approach against illegal drugs.
Last Monday, President Duterte erroneously said in a pre-recorded television address that there were “167 million or two out of 100 people, Filipinos aged 10 to 69” who were considered drug abusers.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified the next day that the figure was a “typo” and that Duterte actually meant to say 1.67 million. The Philippines has an estimated population of 110 million.
Robredo said the government’s policies must be based on hard data as opposed to arbitrary figures.
“Noong nasa ICAD (Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs) ako, ito ‘yung pinagtatalunan namin: Ilan ba ‘yung drug users sa Pilipinas?” recalled the Vice President. “Kinokontra nila ako nang kinokontra… pinapanindigan nung mga kasama ko sa ICAD dati na four million talaga.”
(This was a point of contention during my stint at ICAD: How many drug users are there in the Philippines? They kept on opposing my stand… my fellow ICAD officials insisted that there were really four million drug users.)
“Pinapakita ng DDB survey ngayon tama talaga ‘yung una… Itong DDB survey na ito, nagpapakita na tama tayo na dapat na gamitin na numero ‘yung opisyal kasi ito talaga ‘yung malapit sa katotohanan (The latest DDB survey has validated the first one… This DDB survey showed that we were correct in saying that official figures must be used since these approximate the truth),” she noted.
In November 2019 Robredo accepted President Duterte’s offer for her to co-chair the ICAD. She was, however, sacked by the President from the post three weeks later.