At the IWWI, Trece Martirez City, Cavite
The Supreme Court has aptly described our nation’s worst crisis issue today, and I quote: “Drug addiction has been one of the most pernicious evils that has ever crept into our society, for those who become addicted to it not only slide into the ranks of the living dead, but even worse, become a grave menace to the safety of law-abiding members of society.”
Marami sa atin marahil ay hindi nakikita ang mas malalim ng dahilan sa pagtitipong ito, dahil hindi lubos na naunawaan ang positibong epekto ng pagsira ng shabu sa umagang ito.
Let’s review our high school math. Ang sisirain natin mamaya, 311.64 kilograms ng shabu na nagkakahalaga ng P435.87 million. Bukod sa nagpapakita ng puspusang pagsisikap ng PDEA at ng mga alagad ng batas para mapuksa ang iligal na droga sa bansa, ay mas malalim pang kahulugan ang maaring nakakaligtaan nating bigyan ng halaga.
Alam ninyo, during the Senate public hearing sa pagkapatay kay Mayor of Albuera (Rolando Espinosa), si Kerwin Espinosa testified. Sabi niya ang average shabu user ang gamit niya sa quarter of a gram a day ng shabu. So 2 gramo kada linggo at 8 gramo kada buwan.
With this addiction habit, ang 311.64 kilograms or 311,640 grams na ie-eliminate natin today, translate to a month’s drug supply for around 39,000 average drug users; a week’s supply to 156,000 drug users; and a ‘quick fix’ for a day to over 1.24 million shabu users.
This is thinking at ways imaginative, but the fact remains that the seizure and destruction of these dangerous drugs will save tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives and families.
Needless to say, these more than 300 kilograms lost in the illegal drug trade is definitely a million gained for our future generations.
Having come from the ranks of the Philippine National Police, my answer has been consistent every time I am asked on how to effectively combat illegal drugs. Dalawang paraan lamang ang aking isinasagot: una, market constriction; pangalawa, demand reduction.
Sa simpleng pananalita, walang bibili kung walang magbebenta, at walang magbebenta kung walang bibili.
Over time, PDEA has remained steadfast in implementing this two-pronged approach.
By and by, you continue to restrict the market by eliminating the supply chain of illegal and controlled drugs and substances. In fact, because of the intensified drug operations launched by this administration, shabu now costs a fortune. Sabi nga kanina ni Asec, dati P3,000 ang tingi-tingi, ngayon sa P7,000. So 100%. Ibig sabihin nito talagang napuputol ang supply chain or yung merkado nako-constrict na.
If soaring prices serve as a good indicator of the scarcity of shabu in the market, we are indeed making headway. Looking at the figures, PDEA has a good headstart on the first 100 days of this administration: a recorded 7,928 anti-drug operations that led to the arrest of 8,428 drug personalities; 7,002 filed drug cases; and, the seizure of P8.21 billion worth of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals.
The sequestered P8.21 billion worth of drugs and non-drug evidence in just three months is already an unprecedented record high, having exceeded the yearly recorded seizures of illegal drugs from 2011 to 2015.
Bilang vice chairman ng Senate committee on finance na siyang nangunguna sa pagsusuri at pagbalangkas ng national budget, hindi ako nagatubili na padagdagan ang 2017 budget ng PDEA ng halagang P868 million upang lalo nilang palakasin ang kanilang pakikibaka laban sa iligal na droga.
While we celebrate positive gains through and through, it is not time to sit on our laurels. In fact, amid our unremitting anti-narcotics campaign, organized crimes perpetrated by scalawags in uniform continue to undermine our efforts.
Hence, an arduous challenge remains: we should not let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. We should fight tooth and nail to break the grip of erring officers within all law enforcement agencies to win back the confidence of the public in our institutions.
The surefire way to move forward is to do away with shenanigans and allay public distrust with concrete and measurable achievements.
To accomplish that, you have to work on a solid foundation. That foundation is integrity; and the test of integrity is, of course, credibility.
As I always say, to ultimately test one’s credible standing is to see whether he does what he says, especially under unguarded and tempting circumstances. If a man is truthful and upright in public, but renounces those standards in private, then he lacks credibility because he has no integrity.
In the same manner, a PDEA agent or any public servant who is trustworthy before the media and cameras, but forsakes his code of morals and implements double standards when no one is around, is not worthy of the public’s veneration.
Unless law enforcers act with integrity — that is, with highest ethical standards and respect to the rule of law at all times – change, no matter how much work you put into it, will remain elusive. Hence, if we intend to remain committed to this cause, we should also fortify parallel efforts to ensure this is not the battle of the PDEA alone or of the PNP alone, but more so by all of us. We should all work together to eliminate this menace by all means necessary, but with proper regard to and complete respect for the individual rights of all concerned, whether they be the one enforcing the law or the one to whom the law is being enforced.
Again, maraming salamat sa ating lahat. Mabuhay ang PDEA, mabuhay ang PNP, at mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!