Dela Rosa: We're still far from a drug-free Philippines
MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidate and former police chief Ronald dela Rosa on Saturday, April 27, said there is a long way to go to achieve a drug-free Philippines.
"Kung sabihin mong where are we now, malayo pa tayo sa ating pangarap na magkaroon ng drug-free Philippines (If you're saying where are we now, we're still far from our dream of having a drug free Philippines)," he said during a senatorial forum organized by CNN Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas.
Dela Rosa led the first few years of President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-illegal drug campaign. Duterte promised during the presidential elections of 2016 to eradicate illegal drugs "in 3 to 6 months."
Since being elected, Duterte has extended this timeframe many times. In February 2019, he said he would quash the drug menace by the time he steps down in 2022. (READ: Duterte updates promise: End of PH drug menace in 3 years)
Duterte's campaign has been widely criticized both by local and international groups for the high number of killings. More than 5,000 people have been killed during police operations while human rights groups estimate the number to reach more than 20,000 to include those victims of vigilante-style killings. (READ: Duterte gov't allows 'drug war' deaths to go unsolved)
Dela Rosa, however, said there is a "huge difference" between the situation now and under previous administrations'.
"Ang difference ay meron pa ring droga pero ang droga imported na galing China," he said. "Pero noong panahon ng ibang presidente, ang droga hindi ini-import, dito mismo ginagawa sa Pilipinas."
(The difference now is that there's still drugs but these are imported from China. Before, the illegal drugs are manufactured here in the Philippines.)
A bulk of illegal drugs smuggled into the Philippines are believed to have come from China.
Otso Diretso candidate Chel Diokno rebutted Dela Rosa, adding that the administration is just focusing on the poor and not the big drug syndicates.
"Ang tinitira nila puro maliit na pusher, puro mahihirap, nasaan ang mga drug lord?" he said.
"Alam ng pamahalaan kung sino iyang mga iyan kasi ang totoo, takot," Diokno added.
(They're targetting small pushers, all poor, where are the drug lords? This administration knows who are they, but they are afraid.) – Rappler.com