The intensified war on illegal drugs has made a significant impact on the national drug situation in the first 100 days of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Considered as a breakthrough in the history of law enforcement in the country is the voluntary surrender of 733,635 drug suspects, which is 24 percent of the 3.7 million drug users nationwide.
With the mass surrender, shabu consumption was reduced by 2.24 metric tons, translating to P5.59 billion in losses to drug syndicates. The campaign also led to the reduction of crime rate by 49 percent.
“In response to the President’s marching orders, PDEA focused its operational thrusts towards the conduct of high-impact operations and arrests of high-value targets to suppress the supply of dangerous drugs, while stepping up the drug demand reduction efforts in the communities,” PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña said.
As the lead agency against illegal drugs, the PDEA, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, has conducted 7,928 anti-drug operations that led to the arrest of 8,428 drug users and pushers, the filing of 7,002 drug cases and the seizure of P8.21 billion worth of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs), from June 30 to October 7, 2016.
“Due to the intensified efforts of these anti-drug units, the first floating shabu laboratory and industrial-type shabu laboratory were discovered and dismantled. There were five clandestine shabu laboratories dismantled during the period, compared to the two illegal facilities dismantled in 2015 and three in the first semester of 2016,” Lapeña said.
As shabu laboratories were being shut down, a notable increase in the volume of illegal drugs confiscated was also observed. A total of 573.95 kilograms of shabu, the primary drug of choice, were seized. The biggest volume of shabu seized was recorded this year — 1,453.46 kilos — exceeding the yearly seizures from 2010 to 2015.
For the period, 25 drug dens were closed down nationwide. Drug dens are one-stop shops that facilitate administration, delivery, storage, distribution, and sale or use of illegal drugs.
The volume of marijuana seized during the period—558.96 kilos—also surpassed the seizures in 2014 and 2015. The destruction of marijuana plants, with an estimated value of P4.79 billion in 28 marijuana eradication operations, was also recorded.
Increased seizures of Ecstasy, which is the third most abused drug, has also been recorded. During the same period, 12,014 ecstasy tablets were confiscated, higher than the recorded yearly seizures from 2011 to 2014 combined.
Moreover, the seizure of 34.39 kg of cocaine, which were intercepted in the country’s premier airports, eclipsed the volume seized in 2015.
“The confiscated drug and non-drug evidence valued at P8.21 billion during the period has gone beyond the yearly recorded seizures of illegal drugs from 2011 to 2015,” Lapena noted.
“Also taken into account is the rapid increase of the street price of shabu in the local market. From P1,200 to P11,000 per gram in January to June 2016, shabu now ranges from P1,200 to P25,000 per gram. This is the highest since 2002,” the PDEA chief pointed out, adding that when the market price of illegal drugs rises, it is generally assessed that there is scarcity of supply.
To strengthen the government’s anti-drug campaign in the communities, the PDEA held 34,296 drug demand reduction activities, including anti-drug summits throughout the country.
Meanwhile, to consolidate local communities in the fight against illegal drugs, MASA-MASID, a community-based program soliciting the participation of people’s organizations in campaigns against corruption, illegal drugs and criminality in barangays was launched.
“The intensified war on drugs, at present, is seen, felt, and more importantly, participated in by the Filipino people, thus making the challenge, though overwhelming, becoming more and more attainable,” Lapeña said.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy lauded the PDEA and member agencies of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group for the seizure of huge amounts of cocaine and shabu at the airport.
“We are pleased that information provided by the US Drug Enforcement Administration Office in Manila was instrumental in the identification of three travellers suspected to be carrying contraband in their checked baggage aboard an incoming international flight on October 5,” the embassy said in a statement.
The NAIA IADITG is a multi-agency task force led by PDEA established in a cooperative effort between the Philippine government and DEA. The task force receives training, equipment and infrastructure support from the US government.