MANILA, Philippines – The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) on Monday, October 30, revealed their battle plan against drugs by targeting the demand for the illegal substances, instead of targeting dealers.
The “Love life. Fight drugs.” campaign, will use a communal approach, which recognizes that the drug problem as both social and psychological. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’)
“It is about the life of a drug user who needs help to free himself or herself from drug dependence. It is about protecting the life of the people against the threats of drugs,” said DDB chairman Dionisio Santiago in a press conference introducing the program.
The Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS), which outlines the campaign, has been sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval.
While the document has yet to be made public, Dionisio already disclosed a key difference with how the renewed campaign through PADS varies from that of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The campaign will have preventive education, advocacy, and civic awareness programs, Santiago said, that will be spearheaded by the cooperation of government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Education (DepEd).
“This campaign aims to change the prevailing law enforcement focused narrative of the anti-drug campaign. The fight against drugs is about protecting the life of the people,” he said.
When the war on drugs was run by the PNP, the government was heavily criticized for the spike in killings in police operations, and drug-related homicides. Many families are still seeking justice for their killed kin, in what is dubbed by the administration as “collateral damage.”
The DDB said they will also invite private companies to help fund local and national drug control programs that will focus on rehabilitation.
The campaign will not cancel out the drug enforcement function of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Santiago clarified, as they still need to target the supply of the drug trade.
He hopes that the President will approve their pitch, emphasizing that it is in line with the administration’s Social Development Agenda. – Rappler.com