DND wants exemption from ban on loans, grants from countries supporting probe on PH killings

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2019   •   152

Philippines Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana looks on during the fifth plenary session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 18th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 02 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) will appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt the agency from the Chief Executive’s suspension of any financial assistance from 18 countries that support the call for a probe into drug-related killings under the administration’s war on drugs.

During the Senate deliberation on the DND’s proposed budget for 2020, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opened up the said request by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana discussed the matter with several senators, specifically the ongoing negotiation with the government of Australia regarding the procurement of patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy amounting to P30-B.

“We are currently in talks with the Australian government for them to build our six offshore patrol vessels and they are willing to finance it first,” he said.

The Defense Secretary said they are planning to send a formal appeal to the President about the matter citing such suspension of loans, aids and grants will hugely affect the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the President is keen on reviewing the said request of the DND.

Panelo hinted that President Duterte might hear out and approve the request especially as it concerns the country’s national security. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

Robredo meets with UN officials to push for health-based anti-drug campaign

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is pushing for a stronger, community-based drug rehabilitation program as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD).

Robredo believes that the community has an important role to play in solving the illegal drug menace in the country.

The meeting identified all existing and effective anti-drug programs that other countries have been implementing which can be applied also in the Philippines.

“One of the key learnings of the experiences of other countries is the emphasis on the public health approach and how that can be given equal importance together with the law enforcement approach,” explained USec. Philip Dy of the Office of the Vice President.

Prior to this, Robredo convened the core members of the Community Based Drug Rehab Alliance (COBRA) in an initial attempt to involve the private sector in the government’s war against illegal drugs.

Based on data, 90 percent of drug dependents across the country can be considered ‘occasional users’ who need help from the community.

Robredo is expected to meet again with member agencies of ICAD for follow-ups in the coming days. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

Lacson advises Robredo not to join anti-drug ops; focus on cutting drug supply

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has advised Vice President Leni Robredo to focus more on reducing the supply of illegal drugs in the country instead of joining an anti-drug operation.

Lacson gave the advice after he met with Robredo on Friday to discuss what she could do in her new role as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD), which President Rodrigo Duterte handed to her last week.

The senator said Robredo’s presence in drug stings might compromise the operation due to security protocols as the country’s second-highest official.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino earlier challenged Robredo to join one of the anti-drug operations, to which she accepted.

READ: NCRPO chief prepared to let VP Leni join drug busts

“Sa security pa lang, nakakalat na security niya, mate-telegraph ang operation. But they could make some arrangements paano isasagawa yan,” he told UNTV News in a phone interview.

“Pero from briefing sa jumpoff tapos sa mismong operation, di pwedeng pabayaan mo Bise Presidente ng bansa. Pangalawang pinakamataas na opisyal ng bansa natin, ilalagay mo ang buhay sa alanganin dahil susugod siya roon,” he added.

Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, said the focus of the drug war has been on the demand side which mostly targets drug users and peddlers on the street.

He pointed out that cutting the supply would make the street value of drugs prohibitive and take down big-time dealers.

“Kapag supply yung focus mo, concentrate mo, unang una magiging prohibitive ang presyo, Pangalawa, siyempre mga big-time drug dealers ang mga mahi-hit mo,” he said.

Lacson also said that further strengthening the process of intelligence gathering against those involved in the narcotics trade would also help in the anti-drug campaign.

He added that during his stint as PNP chief, he maintained close coordination with his foreign counterparts and drug enforcement units in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Lacson also said that he gave names of some people who could help Robredo with the law enforcement part of the job but did not elaborate on who these are. – RRD (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

DILG looking forward to Robredo’s fresh ideas, strategies in handling PH drug problem

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019

Vice President of the Philippines Leni Robredo delivers a statement to the press in Quezon City, Philippines, 06 November 2019. Robredo announced on 06 November, she would accept President Rodrigo Duterte’s designation of her as the co-chairperson of the country’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs. (EPA-EFE / ROLEX DELA PENA)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is looking forward to closely working with Vice President Leni Robredo after she accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to be co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Robredo has the competency and can make a significant contribution in government efforts to reduce public demand for illegal drugs, citing her work with various organizations and sectors over the years.

The DILG, together with the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, leads the illegal-drug demand reduction campaign.

“We feel that it is in the area of illegal-drug demand reduction that the Vice President can make a significant contribution,” Malaya said in a statement.

The DILG official also cited the following ICAD objectives, as provided for in Executive Order 15, which they believe could be met by government agencies with the vice president’s help and guidance:

  • Advocacy campaign initiatives against illegal-drugs on the community level;
  • Barangay anti-drug clearing operations;
  • Cleansing the bureaucracy of unscrupulous personnel involved in illegal drugs;
  • Community-based drug rehabilitation program

Malaya said these are some of the functions of the ICAD but they are open to Robredo’s fresh ideas and alternative strategies on how to handle the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign.

He added that the DILG has directed all its attached agencies to provide the necessary assistance to the Vice President as she takes on her new assignment.

“We are ready to assist the Vice President in her new task. After all, the objective is the same — to eliminate the drug problem in our country,” he said.

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