The war against illegal drugs in the country has been bolstered as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is ready to help the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the campaign.
In an interview over radio station DZRH, Lorenzana said one of the marching orders of President Duterte when he was appointed Defense Secretary is to help the PDEA under Director General Isidro Lapeña go after illegal drug syndicates in the country.
“Actually, one of the marching order that was given to me by the President when he designated me as secretary is to help the PDEA. So we have troops who are on standby that will help my classmate Gen. Lapeña,” Lorenzana said.
He said the military has personnel on standby ready to be deployed to help or assist PDEA in the fight against illegal drugs.
“If he needs troops especially when going to places where the drugs groups are present and armed and dangerous, we have soldiers who are ready to be deployed and help them,” he added.
Lorenzana said that they initially offered all Army camps for the rehabilitation of drug users. However, he said that not all Army camps are that big and suitable for rehabilitation of drug users.
“Actually, inoffer ko lahat iyan kay ano, sa Malacañang pero, kasi ang mga kampo, may mga kampo na maliit lang kasi ang area. Ang gusto pala nila malalaki para magkakaroon naman ng malawak lawak na gagalawan iyung mga nagre-rehab,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said among the camps they offered were Fort Magsaysay in Talayan City, Nueva Ecija; Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz; and the Army camp under the 4th Infantry Division in Kibaritan, Bukidnon. “Malalaki ang mga iyan, mga libo-libong ektarya iyan. So ito iyung mga area na inooffer namin,” the DND chief said.
Lorenzana said that the use of Army camps as drug rehabilitation centers will only be temporary until the illegal drugs problem in the country has been solved.
Meanwhile, Duterte on Wednesday said that aside from Chinese drug syndicates, the deadly Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa has infiltrated the country.
“Is Mexico into us? Yes. The Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico,” Duterte said in a speech before members of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in Malacañang.
According to Duterte, the Philippines is now a transshipment point of the notorious Mexican drug syndicate.
“Tayo ang transshipment. Kasi ini-interdict sila ng Amerika,” Duterte said, adding: “They (Sinaloa) are active here.
I’m telling you now. I will never, never, never, foist a lie. That is the truth.” (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)