PDEA wants P648 million more in 2022 budget for intel funds, anti-drug programs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is asking for an additional P648 million in its proposed budget to fund intelligence and anti-drug programs for 2022. 

During the Wednesday, September 15 Senate committee hearing on the agency's proposed 2022 budget, PDEA chief Wilkins Villanueva said he wants the Congress and Senate to allot over P600 million to fund the intelligence activities of the agency, as well as its Barangay Drug Clearing Program. The PDEA, along with the Philippine National Police, leads the government’s anti-drug campaign.

According to Villanueva, the additional funds could be under congressional initiatives, since the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved an allocation of only P206 million for the PDEA's intel funds. The requested funds are on top of the Office of the President's intel and confidential funds amounting to P4.5 billion. 

Congressional initiatives are funds allocated and endorsed by the Congress for a certain agency that are not part of the original submitted National Expenditure Program (NEP) by the DBM.

Villanueva shared during the hearing that as of August 2021, the PDEA was able to seize P10.22 billion worth of illegal drugs through the help of their intel funds. However, despite the drug war's five-year run, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said that the illegal drug problem still persists in the country, with crystal methamphetamine or shabu being the top drug concern

The PDEA is also seeking an additional P45 million for the construction of its regional offices, and another P221 million for the PDEA Academy. 

These requested funds are on top of the PDEA's total proposed 2022 budget of P2,925,295,000. If approved, this would be the last PDEA budget to fund the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign, which has yet to clear 12,447 drug-infested barangays.

In the last five years, the bloody drug war has already claimed 7,884 lives. Of this, only 1% or 61 cases had been forwarded to the justice department for investigation. – Rappler.com