President Rodrigo Duterte mandated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the only agency to handle the administration’s campaign on the administration’s ‘war on drugs’.
In a recent memorandum issued on October 10, Duterte said the action was done to bring more order in the campaign and to establish accountability.
Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BoC) and other agencies in the anti-drug task force to leave PDEA as the sole agency in conducting operations against all illegal drug activities.
“(I)n order to bring order to the operation/campaign against illegal drugs, thus pinpointing precise accountability, I hereby direct, the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), PNP (Philippine National Police), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs, Philippine Postal Office and all other agencies or any and all ad hoc anti-drug task force, to leave to the PDEA, as sole agency, the conduct of all campaigns and operations against all those who, directly or indirectly, and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved in or connected with, illegal drugs,” the memorandum issued by Malacanang read.
This also means that all information and data obtained by other agencies must be directed to the PDEA to plan for an appropriate action.
Agencies that were involved in the anti-drugs campaign before are still expected to perform their duty based on their respective organic laws.
Duterte reminded PNP to maintain their visibility to the public as an act of deterrence against illegal drug activities.
He clarified that only PDEA can conduct anti-illegal drugs activities, which is something PNP has the power to do before.
If the operation involved packages, PDEA is expected to work with BoC and Philippine Postal Office as mandated by the law.
PDEA was created by the virtue of Republic Act no. 9165 or Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 to safeguard citizens from the harmful effects of illegal drugs.
They are authorized to arrest all violators and search and confiscate belongings used in illegal drug activities.
The memorandum was released a year after the campaign on the war on drugs started under the Duterte administration.
According to PNP, more than 3,400 individuals were killed in their operations for the campaign.
Photo credit: PCOO