• Bato eyes special group to hunt drug lords

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    PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa is eyeing the creation of a special group that will hunt down drug lords similar to what Colombia did in the 1990s.

    However, Dela Rosa refused to disclose details as this may jeopardize the plan.

    “Well, hindi ko dapat sabihin yan. Kapag sabihin ko, wala na, ineffective na kami sa diskarte. Pero tinanong mo, sige kasama na rin yun (I’m not supposed to reveal that. Once I did, we will be ineffective. But since you asked, there it is),” Dela Rosa told reporters Monday.

    The PNP chief just arrived from a six-day trip to Colombia where he and other members of the Philippine contingent learned of that country’s campaign against illegal drugs.

    “That was a very productive trip, very educational, and I have learned a lot from their best practices. Hopefully, we will be able to apply what we learned to make our own drive against drugs more effective,” he said.

    The police chief was obviously impressed with the way Colombia went after drug kingpins, particularly Pablo Escobar who at one time controlled at least 80 percent of the cocaine supplied to the United States.

    “Naputol nila yung trafficking to the US, to Asia and Europe, ito namang mga cartels, nagiba, naputol yung trafficking (They were able to stop the trafficking of drugs to the US, Asia and Europe, and the drug cartels were crushed),” Dela Rosa said in a news briefing.

    He said the country’s situation differs because finished products or precursors are sneaked into the Philippines whereas drug rings manufacture drugs in Colombia.

    Dela Rosa admitted that the government is not ready to handle the rehabilitation of the thousands of drug users who have surrendered to the authorities for lack of facilities.

    As of September 26, 722,743 drug suspects have turned themselves in.

    The PNP chief said some well-meaning members of the business sector have pooled their resources for the construction of rehabilitation centers but he noted that it will take years before government can put up facilities.
    He asked critics to help the government address the problem on the lack of rehabilitation facilities.

    “Please help us instead of criticizing the government, think of how we can address this problem. Don’t say we wanted drug users to surrender but we don’t have the means to rehabilitate them. So what do we do? Cry? Will we just stop?” Dela Rosa said.

    “It’s impossible for us to stop. We will continue. Nobody can stop us,” he added.

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