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Duterte steps up war on drugs, creates task force vs. illegal drugs

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BY Prince Golez

To counter the menace of drug abuse in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has bared plans to activate a national anti-illegal drug task force

“Drugs have created an aberration in our country. It has destroyed the lives of Filipinos,” Duterte said during a Cabinet meeting in Malacanang Palace on Tuesday.

“Drug menace is the number one threat to national security linking drugs not only to its significant influence in the rise of heinous crimes but also it negatively affects the economy and the role it plays in the corruption of our collections even in our law enforcement agencies,” he added.

The chief executive said he will issue a memorandum circular directing the entire government machinery to mobilize its assets and to take an active role in government’s anti-illegal drug campaign nationwide.

The task force will be composed of members from the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs (BOC), Coast Guard, and other government agencies, said Duterte.

“It can provide a necessary personal complement to carry out the directive of the President to the Bureau of Customs to block the flow of illegal drugs in this country,” the President said.

In yesterday’s meeting, Duterte defended his decision to place the BOC under military control saying this can trigger a chilling effect to customs personnel involved in corruption.

“Now, sabi nila na it violates the constitution and the operative words there are the prohibition of appointment or designation. When I called in the Army to help the Bureau of Customs, there was no designation, there was no appointment, and there was never an instruction for them to take over the functions of the employee,” the President said.

“So ang ginawa ko is just really to order them on floating status. But that was a particular order directed for chiefs of offices and section chiefs. Iyong mga assistant nila ang magta-trabaho,” he said.