The government must “work harder” to prevent the country from becoming a transshipment point for illegal drug trafficking in the Asia Pacific region and make a “drug-free Philippines” its legacy to the nation, President Duterte said Thursday.
At the ceremonial destruction of P7.5 billion worth seized illegal drugs in Cavite, the President said while the government scored gains in the war on drugs in the past four years, drug offenders have not ceased in their nefarious activities despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The intensified anti-drug crackdown must include reforms in the criminal justice system, according to the President.
“We will continue to work even harder not only to suppress the supply of narcotics in our streets, but also to prevent our country from being used as a transshipment point for illegal drug trade in the Asia-Pacific region,” said the President who temporarily removed his face mask to deliver his speech.
“We must, therefore, remain steadfast in our campaign not only by intensifying our operations against drug trafficking, but also by reforming our criminal justice system and addressing the root cause of drug abuse and dependency,” he added.
Duterte has urged law enforcement authorities, prosecution service as well as the judiciary not to waver in their “difficult yet rewarding task.” “We already accomplished a lot in the past four years, and we can accomplish more in the next years to come,” he said.
The President also remained unfazed by criticisms from human rights groups, saying his anti-drug campaign will be sustained. He lamented that rights advocates were “preoccupied with the health and life” of the drug offenders instead of their victims.
Policemen were also reminded anew by the President to perform their duty in accordance with the law. He said they must remain “alert and wise” to avoid getting killed during an anti-drug operation.
“I salute you for your undying patriotic fervor. I salute you because you understand the problem and because you worry about your country. I salute you because tayo lahat sa gobyerno magkasama and we protect each other, and I will protect you,” he said.
Duterte also stressed that ending illegal drug trade would mean securing the future of the nation. “Together, let us make a drug-free Philippines the greatest legacy that we can leave behind to our children and the succeeding generations,” he said.
On the confiscated illegal drugs that will be destroyed, the President commended law enforcement authorities for the milestone in the war on drugs. He said these illegal drugs will add to the more than P56 billion seized illicit substance after more than 180,000 anti-drug operations since 2016.
He said the destruction of the illegal drugs was an affirmation of the government’s resolve to put an end to the menace. He said the drug problem has caused immeasurable harm to millions of users, destroyed countless families, and continue to threaten the moral fabric of society.
“Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge the coordinated efforts of PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) which led to the seizure of more than P7 billion worth of dangerous drugs that we destroy today,” he said.
After his remarks, the President wore again his mask and proceeded with the ceremonial destruction of around 1,333.08 kilograms and 5,936.70 milliliters of assorted illegal drugs at the Integrated Waste Management facility.
Wearing hand gloves, the President threw some drug packs into the large incinerator. He was accompanied by Senator Christopher Go and PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva.
The President recently ordered the swift destruction of shabu and other illegal drugs seized by authorities to avoid recycling of the contraband by unscrupulous individuals. He said the drugs must be destroyed shortly after the ocular inspection by the court representative.