PNP wages war on drugs despite P36-M budget in 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) may have been given limited funds this year to carry out its anti-illegal drugs campaign, but the police force remains unfazed.
Acting PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Police Director Benjamin Magalong told congressmen on Tuesday, September 6, that they have been allotted only P36 million out of P88.513 billion to combat drugs in 2016.
“We are now focused on anti-drug operations despite the fact that we have very, very limited [resources]. In fact sir, ang budget lang ng Philippine National Police pang-anti-drugs operations (the budget of the Philippine National Police for anti-drugs operations) is just P36 million,” said Magalong before the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.
The money is funding the operations of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, which leads the intensified campaign against illegal drugs nationwide in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies.
According to Magalong, this leaves no allocation to financially support the anti-illegal drugs efforts of local police.
“Despite that, we use our regular MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) to support our anti-drugs operation,” said Magalong.
He added that the PNP is “very lucky” because local government units across the country, like Makati City and Quezon City, are closely coordinating with the PNP to address the drug problem in their respective localities. (READ: PNP conducts 'reinvigorated' Oplan TokHang in Forbes Park, Magallanes)
The police force has intensified its campaign against illegal drugs following President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to suppress crime and drug use within 3 to 6 months. (READ: 'Nanlaban sila:' Duterte's war on drugs)
From July 1 to September 4, at least 1,011 drug personalities have been killed and 14,798 arrested in 15,626 police operations nationwide. The PNP is also investigating 1,600 other deaths resulting from apparent extrajudicial killings whose perpetrators are unknown. (READ: Death toll breaches 2,000-mark as war on drugs enters 3rd month)
A total of 685,740 drug users and pushers have surrendered to authorities through Oplan TokHang, wherein police officers go door-to-door to give drug suspects a chance to change their ways.
Magalong said that despite the PNP’s low budget for anti-illegal drugs efforts this year, the strong support of Duterte and PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa is boosting their confidence. (READ: In war on drugs, lives of police at risk too)
For one, the Duterte administration is raising the PNP’s budget to P110.4 billion in 2017 from the current P88.513 billion for 2016. The budget will be used to hire 10,000 police officers, acquire more guns and patrol vehicles, and finance other activities “for more effective crime suppression.”
Duterte also wants to create an inter-agency committee against illegal drugs that will integrate efforts in the administration's ongoing war against drugs.
“We have a President who is fully committed. ‘Yun po siguro sir ang nababago dito (That’s what’s new here)… That’s the reason why ganun kami kaagresibo ngayon (That’s the reason why we’re this aggressive now),” said Magalong.
“We have a chief PNP who is the no-nonsense type, na talagang wala ho siyang pakialam sa politics (he doesn’t care about politics). Wala ho siyang pakialam sa sinasabi ng iba (He doesn’t care about what others have to say). He believes what he believes is right. ‘Yun po ang malaking pagkakaiba (That’s the big difference),” he added. – Rappler.com