SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday showed support for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), two agencies at the forefront of the anti-illegal drugs campaign of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Lawmakers expressed their support during the organizational meeting on Tuesday of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, chaired by Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte).
PDEA Deputy Director General for Operations Gregorio Pimentel reported that there have been improvements in the initiatives of their agency based on the reduction of illegal drugs supply, demand and harm. He cited that 14,549 or 34.6% of barangays have already been cleared of illegal drug activities, as of August 2019.
However, Barbers stressed the importance of providing further assistance to law enforcement agencies as he noted that the prevalence of illegal drugs is not just an issue of the government but of the entire nation. “We are all affected in this issue of drugs. This is a problem that we should all face…We have seen some gargantuan achievements on the conduct of raids or operations, on the arrests of drug personalities. But we have yet to see a big drug syndicate busted or a big drug personality, including that of a narco politician, to be put to jail. We are more than willing in this Committee to assist and help our law enforcers to achieve that kind of achievement,” Barbers said.
Further, in order to contribute to President Duterte's war on drugs, Barbers recently filed House Resolution No. 1, urging the House to ensure a drug-free workplace by requiring all House Members and employees to undergo a mandatory drug test.
Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (4th District Cavite) also pitched for public officials to subject themselves to random drug tests. “This is one way of preventing our politicians from being drug-dependent, at the same time we can restore the confidence of our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano (Party-list, ABANG LINGKOD) sought to increase the allocation for PDEA to allow the advancement of its equipment and facilities. Barbers then raised that the Committee has been lobbying for the agency’s budget increase. “We will ask PDEA to submit to us their original budget, and we will try our best that in the bicam of the budget, we can hopefully add a little more to your budget,” he said.
Barbers also announced that the panel shall call for a hearing to discuss amendments to Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” to firm up current policies on illegal drugs.