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PNP: Leni’s drug war figures totally wrong

LT. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Philippine National Police officer-in-charge, counters the claims of Vice President Leni Robredo that the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign is a ‘massive failure’. (Alvin Kasiban)

LT. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Philippine National Police officer-in-charge, counters the claims of Vice President Leni Robredo that the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign is a ‘massive failure’. (Alvin Kasiban)

The leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) hit back on Tuesday at Vice President Leni Robredo for declaring that the government’s drug war is a massive failure.

Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP officer-in-charge, said that Robredo has no factual basis in declaring that only one percent of the circulating drugs were being confiscated every year since the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs was launched in July 2016.

“With all due respect, I beg to disagree with the public relations bombshell of VP Robredo of the national anti-drug campaign as a ‘massive failure,” said Gamboa in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

“Whether her numbers are merely an estimate or the exact value, in any case, the figure derived is totally wrong,” he added.

The PNP has been at the forefront of the bloody drug war, carrying out almost all of the police operations especially on street-level drug pushing.

Gamboa cited several reasons why Robredo was wrong in her declaration that the drug war was a failure.

First, Gamboa said that there is no more local production of shabu in the country since all the shabu laboratories have already been dismantled.

Aside from 14 shabu laboratories dismantled, Gamboa said there were also 419 drug dens demolished in the past three years.

“These 14 demolished clandestine laboratories could not be the one percent cited by VP Robredo, but perhaps represent 100 percent success rate because there is no more local production of methamphetamine products in the country,” said Gamboa.

Second, Gamboa said that an estimated 5.1 tons of shabu, 2.2 tons of marijuana, 500 kgs of cocaine and 42,473 ecstacy pills have already been confiscated.

The confiscated illegal drugs were estimated to be worth P40.39-billion.

Third, the official said that a total of 220,728 drug law violators that include 8,185 High Value Targets, were arrested in more than 150,000 operations conducted nationwide since July 2016.

The operations also resulted in the death of of 5,552 suspected drug personalities.
“All these operations led to the clearing of 16,706 drug-affected barangays in different localities,” said Gamboa.

Fourth, Gamboa said that a total of 421,724 drug patients were also treated under PNP-initiated and supported community centers recovery and wellness programs.

Some 1.5 million drug users and pushers were reported to have surrendered based on PNP data on the first quarter of 2017.

And fifth, Gamboa said that the consistent survey results showing high satisfaction rating is a proof that the drug war is winning.

“Public approval of the national anti-drug campaign has never been posted at such ceiling levels than now with eight-out-of-10 Filipinos expressing overwhelming approval of the war on drugs,” said Gamboa.

In refuting Robredo, Gamboa also paid tribute to the 55 policemen who died due to police operations.

“These police officers had to put their lives on the line in this battle against drugs. It would be the height of disrespect to say that they died a useless death because they failed to stop the drug problem,” said Gamboa.

In concluding that the drug war was a “massive failure”, Robredo appeared to have used the revelation of a top anti-narcotics official of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group or PDEG.

In a press briefing at Camp Crame in November last year, then newly installed PDEG commander Col. Romeo Caramat said that the Philippines consumes 3,000 kilograms, or three tons, of shabu every week.

Caramat came up with the estimate based on the assumption that there are three million drug users in the country.

“In 2002, 10 percent of our population in the country are affected by drugs so safe or modest estimate if we have three million users in our country, the minimum supply demand of drugs is three tons per week, 3,000 kilos per week,” he was quoted saying.

Translated into cash, the illegal drugs business generates P25 billion every week, according to Caramat.

This is the reason, he said, why drugs syndicates would not easily give up despite the aggressive efforts of the government to address the illegal drugs problem in the country.

Caramat made the statements after the PDEG seized almost 400 kilos of shabu – the biggest drug haul of the agency since its inception in March 2017. (Aaron Recuenco) 

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