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”. Whether her numbers are merely an estimate or the exact value, in any case, the figure derived is totally wrong.
The PNP is grateful to VP Robredo for her 18-day service as co-chair of ICAD. That is now part of ICAD history that we want to put behind us as we move along to the more serious business of addressing the problem head-on.
The national anti-drug campaign cannot be a massive failure when is was able to crush the operation of 14 clandestine laboratories and 419 drug dens These 14 demolished clandestine laboratories could not be the 1% cited by VP Robredo, but perhaps represent 100% success rate because there is no more local production of methamphetamine products in the country.
It cannot be a massive failure when an estimated 5.1 tons of Shabu, 2.2 tons of Marijuana, 500 kgs of Cocaine and 42,473 Ecstacy pills, all estimated by DDB to be worth P40.39-billion had been taken off the streets.
Since the national crusade against illegal drugs was launched in 2016 until the 4th quarter of 2019, a total of 151,601 separate anti-drug operations were conducted resulting in the arrest of 220,728 drug law violators among them, 8,185 High Value Targets and the death of 5,552 drug personalities.
All these operations led to the clearing of 16,706 drug-affected barangays in different localities.
On the softhand approach to the drug problem, 421,724 drug patients were treated under PNP-initiated and supported community centers recovery and wellness programs.
Public approval of the national anti-drug campaign has never been posted at such ceiling levels than now with 8-out-of-10 Filipinos expressing overwhelming approval of the war on drugs.
But all these did not come without a price. Fifty-five (55) 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.
The drug problem is a clandestine operation that cannot be precisely audited by authorities, rather it can only make estimates based on results of operations. Not even the US DEA was able to accurately quantify the amount of drugs produced and drug money amassed by Pablo Escobar and El Chapo Guzman without the actual baseline data.
Eighteen days may not have been enough to make estimates much more assess the success of failure of this national campaign that has been waging for over three years now.
This national crusade is aint over. Much needs to be done along both supply and demand reduction strategies. The PNP operational thrust for 2020 will focus more on intensified intelligence-driven anti-illegal drugs operations particularly against upper and middle-level High Value Targets engaged in trafficking of commercial quantity of illegal drugs 50 grams or more.
PLTGEN ARCHIE FRANCISCO F GAMBOA OIC, PNP