THE Philippine National Police headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday welcomed a statement from United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres recognizing illegal drug trafficking and use of illegal drugs as a global concern and called for a “worldwide action” against it.
“The Philippine National Police welcomes the development of the United Nations recognizing that Illegal drugs is a world problem. With the United Nations’ recognition, the PNP will be more strengthened to fight the menace of drug syndicates that are continuously affecting our communities,” said PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Benigno B. Durana Jr. in a statement.
According to the UN chief, drug addiction is not an “abstract” subject or simply a “policy issue” but also a “personal fight” citing his personal experience with a friend who died from illegal drugs at an “unbearably young age” and the experience of his sister, a psychiatrist working at a drug treatment center in Lisbon, Portugal which is his own country.
Citing UN figures, Guterres said some 450,000 people die every year from drug overdose or drug-related health issues and that “some 3 million people around the world” are hooked on illegal drugs, requiring drug addiction treatment.
“With other countries coming together and working collectively in facing this problem, the PNP believes that, in due time, we will win the war against illegal drugs and crime rate will continuously be reduced. This campaign against illegal drugs is part of the President’s goal of a drug-free and crime-free Philippines,” said Durana.
Outgoing Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said he was “very happy” over the UN chief’s announcement that all countries should unite in the fight against illegal drugs.
“This is a confirmation of what our President Rodrigo Duterte has been telling the whole world again and again -- that illegal drugs are a problem for everyone,” said the Cabinet official who attended the UN general assembly meeting this week.
The PNP has been in the forefront of the Duterte government’s war on drugs since July 2016 to date, the period which saw the arrest of over 155,000 known drug offenders and the killing of some 5,000 other armed suspects following gunbattles with arresting officers.
Over 1.2 million confessed drug dealers and users have also surrendered to authorities during the period, many of them deciding to take advantage of the government’s treatment and recovery program.