PAMPANGA

Zamora-Arceo: PDEA steps up

Inside Talk

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) continues to intensify its programs and strategies against drug trafficking and smuggling. In the recent 3rd bilateral meeting with the Republic of Indonesia, PDEA Chief Dir. Gen. Aaron N. Aquino said that international cooperation and sharing of real-time intelligence information is one of the crucial keys in combating illegal drug trade globally.

It is indeed good to hear the PDEA chief talk about this because it is a given fact that illegal drugs easily find its way in the country through our coasts. Being an archipelago just like Indonesia, our country is prone to illegal drug traffickers all over the Asian region, especially the Golden Triangle syndicates.

With limited resources of the Philippine Coastguard, matched with the red tape and corruption practices of some officers of the Bureau of Customs, illegal drug traffickers still gain access to distribute their goods here.

But with real-time sharing of information with its counterparts globally, PDEA will be capable of preventing the entry of illegal drugs and possible arrest these criminals before they complete their plans.

PDEA, though still young in this field, has already established cooperative and strategic programs with China, the Royal Thai Police, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Control Board and the National Narcotics Board of the Republic of Indonesia.

In relation to the issue of international cooperation, Vice President Leni Robredo’s friendly talks with the United Nations and other organizations give us more room to think about our national policies on national security, law enforcement and strategies in fighting the illegal drugs menace.

I agree with the PDEA chief that there are things that should be left confidential and accessible only with the law enforcement agencies. There are sensitive information that can only be shared with the counterparts of PDEA like the US DEA or the various narcotics board in various countries, but not the general public.

Intelligence and ground operations against illegal drug trading and trafficking require utmost confidentiality because any interruption or revelation of important details could derail the law enforcers’ operations.

The idea of confidentiality where our national security is a concern is a valid position protected by our Constitution. There are things that must be left unsaid. There is valuable information that must be kept secret.

Robredo should keep her mouth shut at times if only to save herself from further humiliation. It should be enough that her media stints are working well for her so she can justify her existence at the national government. She must stop now and stop sabotaging the good intent of the President to fight this drug cancer.

PDEA so far is working towards the right direction. The plan is to control the supply and also the demand. This is why the PNP is helping in apprehending small players, runners and even abusers so as to suppress the demand on the streets.

Another aspect of concern is the rehabilitation of users and abusers. PDEA has already established several rehabilitation and reformation centers all over the country.

According to our good friend, PDEA Deputy Administrative Officer and Chief of Staff Irish Calaguas, the agency has also increased its agents and field offices nationwide. This is part of the agency’s goal to strengthen its structure and its operations, Calaguas said.

The new PDEA office at the Angeles City Hall compound is currently being constructed. And this early, PDEA has already established a strong footprint in the region.

Just recently, three suspected drug personalities were arrested by and Angeles City Police Station 4 Barangay Anonas, Angeles City while in Aurora province, the number One drug persoality was also arrested.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs has already yielded positive results in business, trade and investments, foreign relations and in law enforcement. Duterte may be a lot of things. But one thing for sure, he has put the country in the global map because of his flagship campaign on illegal drugs.


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