Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa has called on village leaders and the youth to rise above the illegal drugs problem, which he described as a “man-made disaster” that continues to wreak havoc on the lives of many Filipinos.
Speaking at the 17th Congress of the Liga ng Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan of Quezon province at the Davao Convention and Trade Center in Davao City recently, Dela Rosa encouraged the local leaders to work together as a community to overcome, not only natural calamities but also the country’s drug problem.
Dela Rosa, who was invited to share his knowledge on disaster management, underscored illegal drugs as an evil that is even more difficult to contain.
“I do not want to scare people, but, yes, this is scary. It can be anyone in our communities – a student, a laborer, a tambay sa kanto (idler), a churchgoer, a teacher or God forbid, a family member,” he said.
In an interview, Dela Rosa, who is seeking a Senate seat in the 2019 midterm election, said he wants to push for the restoration of the death penalty for drug traffickers.
He recalled he has seen many people inside the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) still emboldened by drug lords to continue the illegal drug trade.
Dela Rosa said the Philippines continues to be the destination of illegal drugs because the country has no tough penalty for drug traffickers unlike the neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
“Lalong lumaki ang empire nila (Their empire has grown big),” said Dela Rosa, referring to detainees who are involved in illegal drugs.
He said there are currently 160 foreign detainees facing drug cases, who have not cut their ties with drug lords.
“There are currently 160 foreign detainees facing drug cases who have not cut ties with drug lords.”
Dela Rosa said that If the Philippines would restore the death penalty, drug traffickers would have second thoughts about smuggling illegal drugs into the country.
“If the Philippines would restore the death penalty, drug traffickers would have second thoughts about smuggling illegal drugs into the country.”
Pimentel said President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs is making headway.
The President had estimated that the country harbors some four million drug users and addicts.
“We are winning. I can tell with full conviction we are winning,” Dela Rosa said.
He, however, highlighted the need for stronger action to reduce the illegal drugs supply and put a stop to drug smuggling.
Dela Rosa said the problem remains a challenge because the country is flooded with illegal drugs from foreign traffickers.
He said the “demand side” can be continuously reduced with the active involvement of the barangay officials in the government’s campaign against the illegal drugs problem.