NEWLY appointed Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman, General Dionisio Santiago, belied the statement of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa that illegal drugs are no longer manufactured in the country.
In a forum in Quezon City on Saturday, Santiago said, “to the best of his knowledge, three to four shabu
laboratories are still operating in Luzon.”
However, Santiago did not elaborate saying he respects the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and
other law enforcement agencies that are tasked to eliminate the drug syndicates in the country.
Several huge shabu laboratories have been uncovered in Pampanga, Pangasinan and Quezon, including the one in Camarines Sur since last year with intensified anti-illegal drug operation by the authorities.
When asked about his assessment of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, Santiago said that “Oplan Tokhang” should have been supported by other programs.
“ We should concentrate on our legal moves that Tokhang should be supported by other programs, otherwise, it [Tokhang] will continue,” he said.
Santiago also disclosed details of his plans to enhance the government’s drug rehabilitation program, saying he plans to assess the capacity of drug rehabilitation facilities in the country by monitoring their relapse rate where from this, the board will propose solutions.
“We will benchmark the performance of rehabilitation facilities. If the result is not satisfying, we will order them to stop their operation,” he told The Manila Times.
Santiago also said that he will ask other agencies to participate in free-wheeling discussions with the DDB that will help them come up with better policies.
Santiago was the former head of the PDEA and is also the source of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “four million drug addicts figure.” He was recommended by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd to replace Benjamin de los Santos, who resigned as Bureau of Corrections chief.
Santiago said his 44 years in government service has familiarized him with the position which gives him an advantage.
“I can be effective anywhere… I am a ground worker and I have even worked for our overseas Filipino workers,” he said.