Social Weather Stations drug users poll welcomed

February 17, 2019

THE Philippine National Police yesterday welcomed the results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that 6 out of 10 Filipinos now believe that the number of drug users in their neighborhood has significantly decreased.

In a statement, PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac said the results of the survey only show that the anti-illegal drugs campaign being waged by the PNP headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde is an effective deterrent to drug use.

“The high rating obtained proves that the continuing anti-illegal drugs campaign of the government is effective in convincing drug dependents to refrain from further using illegal drugs, and instrumental in reducing the total number of crimes nationwide thereby creating a secure environment where people feel safe to live, work and do business,” said Banac.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also welcomed the latest SWS findings which he said is a validation of the success of the Duterte administration’s massive crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.

In its survey conducted from December 16 to 19, 2018, the SWS found that 66 percent of Filipino adults said the number of drug addicts in their area has decreased over the past year.

The polling body also noted that 14 percent believe the number of drug users have increased while the remaining 7 percent said it remained the same.

Following the results of the survey, Banac assured that the PNP will continue to do its mandate consistent with the law and respecting human rights.

The PNP has pursued a non-stop war against illegal drug trafficking and abuse as ordered by President Duterte. There is a big need for the continuing drive since 34 percent of crime incidents in the country have been attributed to illegal drugs.

In the latest RealNumbers PH Year 2 forum, officials said that from July 1, 2016 to last October 31, a total of 4,999 armed drug dealers have been killed in gunbattles with government law enforcement agents.

Another 161,584 known drug personalities were arrested as a result of 113,570 anti-narcotics operations which include buy-bust operations, service of search warrants and other forms of interdiction during the period in review.

During the period, the Duterte government also dismantled 258 drug dens and 13 shabu laboratories; declared as “drug-cleared” 8,935 out of the country’s total 42,044 barangays; and arrested 600 government workers involved in illegal drug trafficking and abuse  broken down into 278 government employees, 257 elected officials and 65 uniformed personnel.

The period also saw the dismissal from the government service of 287 law enforcement agents for drug use and 130 others for other drug-related offenses.

It also saw the confiscation of P25.06 billion worth of dangerous drugs including P18.31 billion worth of shabu; the rescue of 1,820 children involved in illegal drug activities; and the surrender of 292,108 drug users from the government recovery and wellness program with 142,280 of them patients who graduated from PNP-initiated drug treatment programs.

There is also a government study that 80 percent of heinous crimes are drug-related while authorities don’t hide the fact that 75 percent of all jail inmates are drug offenders, thereby aggravating overcrowding in jails nationwide.

The PNP notes that drugs are the leading problem affecting Filipino students, followed by teenage pregnancy and suicide. At present, shabu, marijuana, the designer drug Ecstasy and inhalants or solvents like rugby are the most abused drugs in the country.

Records show that there are 24,838 drug-affected neighborhoods/communities or nearly 60 percent of the country’s total 42,036 barangays. In Metro Manila alone, there were previously 1,632 drug-affected barangays or around 95.66 percent of the metropolis’ 1,706 barangays.

Last year, the Dangerous Drugs Board placed the street value of shabu in the country per gram to P1,400 up to P9,000 while a gram of marijuana fetches a price of P18. On the other hand, an Ecstasy tablet could be bought at P1,200 each. Inhalants like rugby which is the preferred drug of streetchildren and other homeless people comes in at a very cheap price.