Malacañang remains optimistic that President Duterte will be able to fulfill his promise of a drug-free Philippines by the time he steps down from the presidency in 2022.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Catalino Cuy said that achieving a drug-free Philippines by 2022 is no longer a realistic goal due to time constraints.
In his Thursday presser, Roque said the President’s promise is still possible with the full cooperation of local government units (LGUs).
According to the Palace official, 20,538 out of 42,045 barangays in the country are already drug-free.
“Kung makikipagtulungan po talaga ang mga lokal na pamahalaan, yung natitirang 14,308 barangays eh magiging drug-free na rin pagdating ng pagtatapos ng termino ng ating Presidente (If the LGUs will cooperate, then the remaining 14,308 barangays will be drug-free by the end of the President’s term),” Roque said.
President Duterte anchored his campaign for the presidency on the promise of a drug-free Philippine in three to six months. He, however, later on, admitted that he underestimated the situation and said that his drug war will continue until the end of his term.
The Chief Executive’s passion to end the scourge of illegal drugs knows no bounds as he even mentions it during meetings about the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
His first public event during the quarantine was attending the destruction of illegal drugs in Trece Martires, Cavite last week.
Despite saying that having a drug-free Philippines is no longer attainable, Cuy said that the situation has actually improved.
According to Cuy, drug users are down from 3 to 4 million in 2016 to only 1.6 million as of the latest national survey on Filipinos aged 10 to 69.
Based on government data, President Duterte’s drug war has left 5,903 suspects killed while over 259,000 have been arrested. Duterte has repeatedly denied that the government has had a hand in the killings. (