By Glee Jalea / Manila Times
Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo will keep Oplan Tokhang as part of the government’s recalibrated campaign against illegal drugs, her spokesman said yesterday amid swirling speculation that the police’s programme would be scrapped.
Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesman, said under the new anti-drug campaign, there would be no senseless killings.
“The vice president is talking about changing the perception of the public that this only involves killings.
We want to have a balanced appreciation of the programme and have the people understand its other aspects,” he explained.
Robredo yesterday lauded law enforcement agencies involved in a recent drug operation that led to the seizure of P6.8mn and P5.7mn worth of shabu in Makati City and Tondo, Manila.
“This was done without sacrificing innocent lives. Hopeful that we can continue this in our fight against illegal drugs,” she said in a tweet.
Robredo said she took the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) post to put an end to extrajudicial killings and save innocent lives.
She met with United States representatives yesterday to discuss and rebrand Oplan Tokhang.
In a statement, the US Embassy bared that Robredo met with the US delegation comprised of officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development to discuss the current state of US-Philippines counter-narcotics co-operation and potential US government funded programmes.
Robredo said that they tackled ways to assist the Philippine government in dealing with the narcotics problem.
“We talked about the lapses of the current campaign and other means of assistance that they can provide to intensify the campaign against drugs,” she said.
The discussions addressed the need to come up with a clear baseline data on the drug campaign in the country, the possible amendment of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, and the strengthening of programmes for drug use prevention and community-based rehabilitation.
“As allies of the Philippines, they will do everything to help us succeed in this campaign,” she said. On Monday, Robredo met with private and public groups involved in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the UN Community Based Resilience Analysis (CoBRA), consisting of religious groups, civil society sectors, local government units and other anti-drug advocates to address the drug problem.
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer in charge Lt Gen Archie Francisco Gamboa is set to meet the vice president today to discuss the drug war.
“I have things in mind to tell her tomorrow,” Gamboa told reporters.
Gamboa said he might bring up the Philippine Anti-Drug Strategy (PADS).
“It is thick, it did not come from thin air. This has been studied, this has been thoroughly researched so they came up with a new strategy,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa said the PADS was the anti-drug campaign of the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Robredo had suggested some improvements to the PADS by adding “attainable” and “realistic” short term targets by 2022. She also proposed the inclusion of advocates in the campaign against illegal drugs.
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