Duterte creates inter-agency body for war on drugs

Pia Ranada
The 18-member committee, headed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, is divided into 4 clusters: enforcement, justice, advocacy, and rehabilitation

BOOSTING DRUG WAR. President Rodrigo Duterte creates an inter-agency committee and task force focused on his drug war. Photo by Simeon Celi Jr/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte created, through an executive order, an inter-agency committee and task force to spearhead the fight against illegal drugs.

Executive Order 15, signed on Monday, March 6, designates the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs or ICAD.

The ICAD’s membership – a total of 18 agencies or departments (excluding PDEA) – show how Duterte intends the war against drugs to be an all-government effort.

For example, aside from law enforcement agencies, departments like the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry, are part of the committee.

All member agencies are ordered to designate a permanent representative, either an undersecretary or assistant secretary, to the ICAD.

The ICAD members are:

  • Dangerous Drugs Board
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Social Welfare and Development
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of National Defense
  • Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
  • Philippine Information Agency
  • Office of the Solicitor General
  • Philippine National Police
  • National Bureau of Investigation
  • Bureau of Customs
  • Bureau of Immigration
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines
  • Anti-Money Laundering Council

The ICAD is tasked with the “effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities downn to the street-level peddlers and users.”

It is also ordered to cleanse the bureaucracy of “unscrupulous personnel involved in illegal drug activities,” aside from implement the National Anti-Drug Plan of Action 2015-2020.

Read the entire Executive Order No 15 below:

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Clusters

The ICAD will function based on a cluster system. Members are divided into 4 clusters.

The Enforcement Cluster spearheads the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.

The Justice Cluster ensures the “expeditious prosecution of all drug cases.” Their task includes providing legal assistance to law enforcers and public attorneys for the protection of individuals rights, for example, in cases of voluntary surrender or warrantless arrests during anti-drug operations.

The Advocacy Cluser is supposed to conduct a nationwide advocacy campaign for the govenment’s anti-illegal drug policy.

The Rehabilitation and Reintegration Cluster is mandated to implement drug rehabilitation programs and make sure that former drug dependents and other drug personalities are reintegrated into society and become useful members of it.

The ICAD is instructed to meet regularly, with each member submitting periodic reports to their cluster heads.

All cluster reports are to be submitted to the Office of the President.

The same EO created the National Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force to be established by the PDEA. Its members are law enforcement agencies.

Duterte is supposed to designate the task force’s commander who should be a “senior law enforcement officer.” The commander reports directly to the PDEA Director General.

The formation of ICAD and the drug task force comes after President Duterte allowed the Philippine National Police to implement the drug war on a limited capacity, with the PDEA as the effort’s overall head.

Duterte’s decision to revamp his administration’s drug war came after the murder of a South Korean businessman by police inside the PNP’s national headquarters.

This had brought home to Duterte the extent of corruption in the police force, leading him to call for an internal cleansing.

Over 7,000 have died in incidents related to the drug war. Of these deaths, over 2,500 happened during police operations while over 3,600 deaths happened in incidents still being investigated. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.