Drug war not choosing any specific PH region -- Albayalde

Oscar D. Albayalde

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday maintained that the ongoing stepped-up war on drugs as ordered by President Duterte is being conducted on a nationwide scale and is not choosing any specific region, city or province.

He explained it means that  as long as the presence of illegal drug trafficking and abuse is verified in any part of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, police will do  the necessary action to arrest the illegal activity, bring drug dealers to jail and ensure that drug users will have the chance to undergo government-supervised treatment and rehabilitation that will enable them to become productive citizens anew.

“Walang pinipiling lugar ang aming kampanya laban sa droga, basta me problema sa droga nandun ang pulis para umaksiyon,” the PNP chief said. However, police anti-narcotics operations in urban areas like those in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon region and Central Visayas are being widely-publicized compared to the rest of the regions, officials explained.

Gen. Albayalde maintained that apart from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon region, all the other police regional offices are doing their share in the crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.

He issued the statement in reaction to observations that it seems that the Bulacan police has already eclipsed Metro Manila when it comes to neutralizing armed drug dealers in gunbattles. The PNP is quick to say that a more aggressive drug campaign is being waged by the police in Metro Manila and the rest of the 16  regional offices.

Notable accomplishments in the anti-drug drive have been scored by the police in Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu, Iloilo and different parts of Central Luzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Cagayan Valley regions.

The PNP chief also said that President Duterte could be banking on his ‘unlimited number of sources’ when he said that the country now has an estimated 6-7 million drug users despite the massive crackdown on drugs he ordered since Day 1 of his administration.

Gen. Albayalde said they have  the list of suspected drug personalities provided by different Barangay Anti-Drugs Abuse Councils or BADACs after they were required to furnish the government such list.

‘The number of drug personalities started shooting up when BADACs started coming up with their respective watch lists  as a result of the DILG order,” he said.

At present, PNP drug enforcement officers are  ordered to fully pursue the government’s war on drugs particularly ‘high-value targets but on condition that the protection of human rights will still be their premium policy.

“Let me assure the public that the PNP will continue waging a massive crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse in accordance with our operational procedures and with utmost respect for human rights. That’s the policy,” said Police Colonel Bernard M. Banac amid President Duterte’s word that the anti-drug crackdown in the remaining three years of his presidency will be more ‘chilling’ and ‘bloody.’

According to Banac, Gen. Albayalde has emphasized the need to go after HVTs specifically drug lords and manufacturers in compliance to the presidential directive.

“Definitely, our campaign will be more intense but with respect for human rights. It’s the reason why all our anti-narcotics officers are required to undergo regular lectures on the Police Operational Procedures, that’s why many of our officers are now wearing body cameras,” the official said.

Banac, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman, Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon and Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Rafael-Banaag last Thursday  presented the latest RealNumbers PH figures.