PDEA chief sets monthly drug war ‘quota’ for regional offices

Rambo Talabong

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PDEA chief sets monthly drug war ‘quota’ for regional offices
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino wants his regional offices to conduct 30 to 40 anti-drug operations per month

MANILA, Philippines – Regional directors of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have been ordered to meet a monthly quota of “30 to 40” anti-drug operations, PDEA chief Aaron Aquino told Rappler.

Pinepressure ko ang mga regional directors ko. Binibigyan ko sila ng quota, to be honest with you (I’m pressuring my regional directors. I’ve giving them quotas, to be honest with you),” Aquino said in Rappler Talk aired on Wednesday, November 8. 

He said he set a monthly quota of 30 to 40 drug raids per region, or a total of 510 to 680 operations a month nationwide. Based on this, the target number of operations per year would be from 6,120 to 8,160. (READ: Duterte names PDEA as ‘sole agency’ for drug war

The regional directors are monitored by an oversight committee that Aquino manages, and their performance is presented during the monthly command conferences. The PDEA chief said underperforming regional directors would be compeled to do better to keep up with better-performing regions.

Dapat talaga ilevel up mo rin ang operation mo, otherwise mahuhuli ka sa other regional directors, and during our presentation sa command conference, mapapahiya ka roon kapag kulelat ka,” Aquino said.

(You should really level up your operations, otherwise you will be left behind by the other regional directors, and during the presentation in the command conference, you will be put to shame if you are at the bottom.)

Dapat talaga at least nasa top 3 ka (You should be one of the top 3),” Aquino added.

The PDEA chief said this is in line with his goal of waging an effective drug war even without other law enforcement agencies, primarily the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Aquino’s quota for his team would appear low, compared to the accomplishments of the police in its drug war.  According to the government’s #RealNumbersPH tallying initiative, from July 1, 2016, to July 26, 2017, the government counted 68,214 drug operations, or around 5,500 operations a month. (READ: P8.4-B worth of shabu reeled in by drug war since start – PNP)

The PDEA, however, is severely undermanned with just over a thousand agents compared to the 190,000-strong PNP. Aquino himself had earlier said that PDEA would still need the PNP’s help until his office has enough people.

Aquino told Rappler said PDEA would seek an additional budget endorsed by the President to Congress so he can increase the monthly targets, and help Duterte deliver on his campaign promise of ending the drug menace within his term.

Since PDEA took over the helm of the drug war in October, it had reported arrests and raids amounting millions worth of seized illegal drugs in various parts of the country.

A recent PDEA raid uncovered the continued operations of convicted drug pusher Yuk Lai Yu from within the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW), Mandaluyong City, and led to the arrest of her daughter and suspected accomplice,  Diana Yu. The latter was found to have police security detail. (READ: Dela Rosa orders recall of all PNP security detail for VIPs)  Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.