MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has emphasized the need to “double” the government’s efforts to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
In his pre-recorded Talk to the People delivered Friday night but aired Saturday morning, Duterte renewed his commitment to continue his relentless campaign against rampant narcotics trade.
“Hindi ako nagbibiro kung sinasabi ko na natatakot ako sa anong mangyari ng bayan ko pagka hindi maghinto talaga itong pasok ng droga (I am not joking when I say I’m afraid of what might happen to the country if the illegal drug trade continues). It would require more than just double of what we are doing now to (cope with) the widespread importation or the presence of whatever drugs in the country,” he said.
Duterte issued the statement as he lamented that multibillion-peso worth of suspected shabu had been seized in buy-bust operations in Cavite on Thursday night.
Two drug suspects were killed while two others were arrested in separate anti-drug operations in the cities of Imus and Bacoor.
Killed during the anti-drug operation at Springville Executive 1 in Molino village in Bacoor City were Basher Bangon and Danilo Untavar. About 181 kg. of suspected shabu with an estimated street value of PHP1.25 billion were seized during the raid.
On the other hand, Lani Micoleta and Aldwin Micoleta were arrested in a buy-bust operation in Magdalo village in Imus City.
Confiscated from them were 48 kg. of suspected shabu with an estimated street value of PHP331.2 million.
Duterte expressed dismay that despite his repeated warnings against drug personalities, billions of pesos worth of shabu have been recovered in separate buy-busts.
“Bilyones na kasi ngayon eh (Nowadays, the seized illegal drugs are worth billions). You would notice that it is seldom mentioned that the drugs are worth about so many millions. Billions na ngayon ang pinag-uusapan (We are now talking about billions of pesos),” he said.
The President said he would have wanted to spare the lives of drug offenders but noted that they were killed because they were armed and resisting arrest.
“I would have wanted to spare your (life), especially in front of your family, ‘yung mga nangamatay pero (those who have died, but) I have to do it to impress upon everybody the severity of the consequence kung magsalubong tayo (if there’s resistance),” he said.
Duterte said he would do his best to stop Filipino drug addicts from going “crazy permanently” and turning into “inutile citizens of the country.”
He warned that any drug offender who would resist arrest might face death.
“I would like to reassure again those who are into it that (do) not destroy my country because I will kill you. It’s no joke coming from me since I was mayor. Hindi talaga ako papayag kailanman (I will not really allow that),” he added.
Duterte’s “unfinished business” in stamping out drug proliferation in the country has prompted him to accept his nomination as the vice presidential candidate of the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan, for the 2022 national elections.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said these operations prove that the country is gaining ground in its campaign against illegal drugs.
“Even in the time of the pandemic, these illegal drug traffickers are continuously operating. That is why we also have to step up, and our strong points in these operations are the good coordination and interoperability of five law enforcement agencies led by PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) under our whole-of-government approach against illegal drugs,” PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said in a statement.
Aside from the PNP and the PDEA, the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the Bureau of Customs also took part in these operations.
Eleazar added that successful anti-illegal drug operations in the past five years have already resulted in an unprecedented 64-percent reduction in crime in the country.
He vowed to further step up the campaign against illegal drugs through strong coordination and a good working relationship with other government agencies. (PNA)