Malacañang on Tuesday, September 5, guaranteed a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz.
In a press briefing in Malacañan, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella assured that those liable will be made accountable.
“We assured the public that there will be no whitewash and that there will be a thorough and impartial investigation and those who will be found responsible would be made accountable before our laws,” the Palace official said.
During the same briefing, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairperson Dionisio Santiago stressed that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s pronouncement on the case of Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was killed in a police operation, is a “good step.”
“Nilinaw niya, nalinawan ng isip ‘yung mga pulis, akala nila they were given by the President the license to kill. And the President made it very clear that you are given the license to kill if you are using reasonable force at tsaka if you are endangered,” Santiago said.
“Sabi ni Presidente nga, ipinakulong niya ‘di ba? At in effect ‘yun ang sinabi niya, ‘Stop it. Kukulungin ko kayo kung illegal ‘yung act niyo.’ Because the President is a very legalistic person… He is a very legalistic person. So he made it very clear sa pulis and the police is acting very swiftly to police their ranks also,” he added.
The DDB Chair assured the public that fighting the drug menace remains to be among the top priorities of the government.
“Under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the anti-drug campaign has been enhanced and strengthened through the collaboration of national government agencies as well as the support of non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups and the private sector,” Santiago said.
According to the official, with the heightened campaign of the government and the priority given to anti-drug programs, drug users have voluntarily surrendered to authorities.
He noted that as of August 29, a total of 1,380,078 persons who used drugs have been provided with appropriate treatment and rehabilitation services and interventions.
“An increasing trend in admissions in residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities have also been observed,” Santiago added.
He also mentioned that from July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017, more than 70,000 anti-drug operations were conducted which resulted in the arrest of more than 100,000 drug personalities.
Santiago also highlighted the reduction efforts led by the country’s law enforcement units which resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs, arrest of drug perpetrators and dismantling of clandestine laboratories at an all time high.
The DDB head, at the same time, clarified that Filipino families and communities also play a role in fighting illegal drugs.
“The Philippines continues to put individuals at the heart of the anti-drug abuse campaign and transform them as catalyst to start advancing positive value formation in their circles. We believe that every Filipino must take a stand against the drug menace,” Santiago said.
“So ang makaka-solve nito, hindi si Presidente, ‘yung Pilipino mismo, tayo-tayo… We have to go back to the family and the barangay. ‘Yan ang key. ‘Pag ang pamilya walang kwenta, may problema tayo,” he added.
He said in communities, focus is given to out-of-school youth who are vulnerable to the influence of illegal drugs, he added that faith-based organizations and other sectors like the senior citizens are also being tapped.
Santiago said the government is working on expanding its programs to go beyond addressing illicit crop cultivation and to include provision of livelihood opportunities for drug victims in the urban areas.
“Our ultimate goal is to reduce the negative impact of drug abuse in the society. Once reduced, it will lead to the attainment of a drug resistant and eventually a drug-free Philippines,” he said, noting that in a drug-free society, systems are in place; mechanisms are set; laws, policies and regulations are in order to guarantee that communities become drug resistant.
On treatment and rehabilitation, Santiago said the Department of Health (DoH) continues to monitor 49 accredited treatment and rehabilitation facilities in the country.
The DDB, according to Santiago, conducts as well continuing education to law enforcement personnel on anti-illegal drug operation and investigation.
BBL remains a priority
In the same briefing, Abella announced that President Duterte met with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders on Monday, September 4, to discuss among others, their concern about social media posts critical of their handling and the progress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bill.
“The President assured them that he considers this high priority and vital to the future of Mindanao and the nation,” he said.
The President, Abella said, is asking to meet with the Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to facilitate the process.
“The President also thanked the MILF for its strong support in the fight against violent extremists in Mindanao. He cited the humanitarian efforts to save civilian lives in Marawi and the continuing operations of the MILF against armed groups and enemies of the state throughout Mindanao,” Abella said.
“He cited the humanitarian efforts to save civilian lives in Marawi and the continuing operations of the MILF against armed groups and enemies of the state throughout Mindanao,” he added. ###PND