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NCRPO chief: Not drug-free, but ‘drug-resistant’ PH in 3 years

Rambo Talabong
NCRPO chief: Not drug-free, but ‘drug-resistant’ PH in 3 years


'Hindi puwedeng tapusin nang totally tapusin,' says National Capital Region Police Office chief Guillermo Eleazar during a Rappler Talk interview

MANILA, Philippines – For National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Guillermo Eleazar, ending the drug problem in the Philippines within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte cannot be done. He offered an alternative: a drug-resistant Philippines.

Alam mo, hindi puwedeng tapusin nang totally tapusin. Ang gusto lang natin is ma-attain lang natin ang ‘yun: ang drug-cleared or drug-free community is labeling. Sa akin drug-resistant. So, ibig sabihin, ‘yung sitwasyon, we can react on this,” Eleazar said in a Rappler Talk interview on Tuesday, March 12.

(You know, we cannot totally, totally end it. We just want to attain it: drug-cleared or drug-free is labeling. For me, it’s drug-resistant. That means we can react to the situation.)

This comes after Duterte asked the public to wait 3 more years before he could “complete” his campaign promise of ending drugs and crime. He first vowed to end the two problems in 6 months when he campaigned for the presidency.

Citing numbers kept by the NCRPO, Eleazar said they have arrested over 70,000 drug suspects ever since Duterte assumed office in July 2016. But there are more arrests to be made, and more drugs to be seized. (READ: Duterte gov’t allows ‘drug war’ deaths to go unsolved)

Siguro naman talaga naramdaman ng ating mga kababayan na nabawasan ang mga drug addict considering na 73,000 ang naaresto natin, pero malayo pa tayo para maresolve natin ang problemang ito (Maybe our citizens have felt that drug addicts are now fewer, considering that we have arrested 73,000, but we are still far from resolving this problem),” Eleazar said.

The way forward, according to him, is to go beyond law enforcement and look at prevention and rehabilitation, too. This, he said, would have to start at the community level and even within the family. (READ: No ‘real number’ on drug rehab: Here’s why)

Hindi lang dapat pulis ang umaksyon diyan. Law enforcement. ‘Yun ang role ng pulis. Pero andiyan dapat ‘yung prevention, andiyan dapat ‘yung rehabilitation, at pati na rin integration sa komunidad,” Eleazar said. 

(Cops shouldn’t be the only ones to act there. Law enforcement. That’s the role of cops. But prevention should be there, also rehabilitation, and integration into the community.) –

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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.