P2.82-B Drugs Seized; Gains in Drive Cited; Center Reports 66 Rings Busted
Cagahastian, Diego C., Tuazon, Brenda P., Manila Bulletin
The Estrada administration neutralized 66 drug rings and seized P2.82 billion worth of dangerous drugs and paraphernalia in 1999, the year the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention (DEP) Coordinating Center was created, Malacanang said yesterday.
The DEP Center, headed by Director Jewel Canson, conducted 24,600 operations which led to the arrest of 36,335 persons and the filing of 20,949 cases in court, according to a report prepared by the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) on the one-and-a half year performance of the Estrada administration.
The center was established by President Estrada to consolidate drug enforcement and prevention efforts from the national down to the community level for a more effective campaign against drugs.
Since its establishment, the DEP Center has trained 667 persons to assist in efforts to make barangays drug-free.
A total of 2,903 barangays in Metro Manila have been declared drug-free by the DEP Center,
As of October, 1999, 28,445 Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC) were also organized by the Center throughout the country. With the BADAC averaging about 10 members, this means that there are now more than 284,000 persons actively in the fight to eliminate the drug menace, the report noted.
"The organization of the BADACs provided an infrastructure at the grassroots level that serves as the focal point through which various organizations and individuals work together cooperatively in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs on drug abuse prevention," the report stated.
Since its creation last year, the DEP Center has been embarking on a massive information campaign to generate public awareness and community involvement in the fight against narcotics abuse and trafficking.
Its efforts to establish 24-hour hotlines to receive information on illegal drug activities and requests for assistance led it to act on a total of 3,750 information reports which were processed and passed on to various law enforcement units, such as the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and the National Bureau of Investigation, the report said.
The DEP Center also stepped up and closely monitored anti-illegal drug operations, including the rehabilitation of drug dependents. It initiated efforts to address the lack of drug rehabilitation centers in various areas of the country.
With the President at the helm, the DEP Center also organized the Mamamayan Ayaw Sa Droga (MAD) multi-sectoral movement against illegal drugs last August to further heighten public awareness and contempt against drug abuse and trafficking.
"MAD aims to transform and crystallize the existing level of public contempt against drug abuse into a movement of outright indignation," according to the report.
Wiping out the drug scourge in the country is one of the priority law enforcement concerns of the Estrada administration.
Recognizing the drug menace as a potent threat to national security and the future of the country's youth, President Joseph Estrada has mobilized all law enforcement agencies to join the all-out efforts to make the Philippines a drug-free country.
President Estrada vowed a sustained peace-and-order campaign yesterday, zeroing in on the evils of drug trafficking, prostitution, and illegal gambling, as he gave Local Government Secretary Alfredo Lim and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Deputy Director General Panfilo Lacson full authority to go full-speed against organized syndicates. …