Press Briefing

Real Numbers Press Briefing with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Atty. Ana Maria Banaag, PNP Spokesperson Police Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, PDEA Spokesperson Director Derrick Arnold Carreon and NCRPO Spokesperson Police Supt. Kimberly Molitas

Event Real Numbers Press Briefing
Location Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañan Palace

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV:  Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps and guests mula po sa PNP and PDEA. Welcome sa Real Numbers Briefing. Today we have Assistant Secretary, Atty. Marie Banaag. Good morning, ma’am.

ASEC. BANAAG:  Rocky magandang umaga and members of the Malacañang Press Corps, good morning po.

Before going to the updates on the Real Numbers and updates on the Semana Santa, I’d like to read Memorandum Circular No. 43:

Work in government offices including Government Owned and Controlled Corporations and Local Government Units, and classes in all public schools, State Universities and Colleges are hereby suspended on Wednesday, 28 March 2018, starting at 12 o’clock noon to enable government workers to prepare for their observance of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. However, those government agencies whose functions involve law enforcement, response actions to disasters and calamities and/or performance of other vital services shall make available standby services or arrangements to meet any contingencies. The suspension of work in other branches of government and independent bodies, as well as in private companies and offices is left to the sound discretion of their respective administrators.” – By authority of the President, signed Salvador C. Medialdea – Executive Secretary; Manila, 27 March 2018.

We’d like to welcome Malacañang Press Corps and the officers of the PNP and the PDEA, the Bureau of Customs who are here this morning for the update on the Real Numbers PH and the updates on the Semana Santa.

For the PNP, we have here Police Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao and Director Derrick Carreon of the PDEA. And for the Semana Santa, we have here Police Superintendent Kimberly Molitas.

May we start with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency updates.

PDEA DIR. CARREON:  Thank you, ma’am. Good morning to our counterparts in government, and to the Malacañang Press Corps. We’d like to present the updates on Real Numbers, on behalf of Director General Aaron Aquino.

From July 1, 2016 to March 20, 2018 – a total of 91,704 anti-drug operations were conducted by the PDEA and other law enforcement agencies which resulted in the arrest of 123,648 drug personalities during the period. There were 4,075 drug personalities who died during anti-drug operations. Anti-drug operations conducted posted an increase of 6,636 or 7.8% compared to the data from the last period.

Drug personalities arrested increased by 2,561 or 2.12%; while drug personalities who died during anti-drug operations increased by 54 or 1.34%. The anti-drug operations conducted, also resulted in the confiscation of 2,620.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu worth 13.46 billion pesos, posting 10.13 kilograms or 50.62 million pesos increase since February 8 of 2018.

Meanwhile, dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals and laboratory equipment confiscated from July 1, 2016 to March 20, 2018 were worth 19.67 billion pesos, posting an increase of 68.82 million pesos since February 8 of 2018.

From July 1, 2016 to March 20, 2018 – a total of 469 government workers were arrested nationwide for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Out of these, 199 were elected officials, 45 were uniformed personnel and 225 were government employees. Total government workers arrested posted an increase of 15 or 3.3%; elected officials posted an increase of 7 or 3.65%; while uniformed personnel posted an increase by 9 or 2.27%.

During anti-drug operations conducted nationwide, a total of 649 minors were rescued from involvement in illegal drug activities, posting an increase of 31 or 5.02%.

Significantly PDEA, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies dismantled a total of 189 illegal drug facilities composed of 180 drug dens and 9 shabu laboratories. Thank you very much.

ASEC. BANAAG:  PNP, sir…

PCSUPT. BULALACAO:  Thank you, ma’am. On behalf of the Philippine National Police, I am privileged to update you on the latest developments in our efforts against illegal drugs.

The PNP continues to complement the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the government’s anti-illegal drugs drive effective December 5, 2017. Since then, we were able to sustain the momentum of the national anti-illegal drugs campaign by attacking the illegal drugs problem on two strategic fronts of supply reduction by hitting hard on high-value targets, traffickers and suppliers; and demand reduction by persuasive dialogue with known drug personalities through Project Tokhang that we relaunched on January 29, 2018.

From July 1, 2016 to March 20, 2018 – we have recorded a total of 2,467 drug related incidents which is 76 higher compared to February 8, 2018 figure. Of this figure, 715 cases were solved, an increase of 76 cases from the last report; while 1,752 are still under investigation.

On our data on illegal drugs campaign for the period: 70,171 cases were referred to the prosecution; an increase of 4,756 cases compared to February 8, 2018 figure. Of this figure, 46,014 were filed in court, while the remaining 24,157 cases are still for preliminary investigation which is higher by 1,968 cases as compared to February 8 figure. Thank you.

ASEC. BANAAG:  Semana Santa updates…

PSUPT MOLITAS:  Good morning, everyone. On behalf of Police Director Oscar Albayalde, I’d like to brief you on the preparation for the Semana Santa 2018 for the National Capital Region Police Office.

As of this time, we already have deployed 11,000 police officers to man our places of convergence, our transportation hubs, our route securities and also including target hardening. We have in total deployed 11,841 police officers all over NCR, this also to include over 400 members of the Joint Task Force. So we have a total of 12,000 strong police officers including the army of around 400 persons.

We also have over 25,000 force multipliers who are helping us this Semana Santa. We have 12,000 Barangay Tanods who are helping us. We also have around 9,000 blue guards and over 1,000 members of the Department of Health, Red Cross who are addressing the issues on health/security of our kababayans this Semana Santa.

We have placed over a thousand covert operatives who will address issues on terrorism and intel gathering. We have over 7,000 route security, this includes of course our foot patrollers, our mobile patrollers, our assistance desk also, they are the ones manning this. We have placed a bulk of officers on our route security, because we also would like to address the needs of our tourists.

At this time, hindi lang po iyong mga Catholics iyong ating babantayan papunta sa ating mga simbahan, this also includes local and international tourists who are visiting out churches, especially the historical ones here in Metro Manila. That is why we have given a number of our police officers on route security.

And of course, we have been challenged with the traffic, so we would like to help also of course the MMDA and our local government units manage the traffic along Metro Manila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ma’am, sa Semana Santa muna. Iyong number coding, would you know?

PSUPT. MOLITAS:  MMDA declared that they will start the number coding lifting tomorrow until Sunday. I don’t know if they will extend until Monday—okay, Monday that’s from our national headquarters.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Okay. So tomorrow until Monday.

PSUPT. MOLITAS:  Yes.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Tapos, Ma’am, you mentioned target hardening, any specific areas that you are especially looking into?

PSUPT. MOLITAS:  We don’t have any—in fact, the last threat assessment, we have not received any threat naman in Metro Manila. But we would like to make sure and assure our mga Kababayan na we are not complacent about this, we still have our covert operatives on the ground. They may wonder… baka po kasi magtaka sila na nasaan iyong 11,000. Not all of these are uniformed people. So, we also have covert operatives on the ground monitoring, intel gathering and of course working with other government agencies.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ma’am mga reminders lang for the public, especially pa nga iyong mga lalabas ng bahay nila, magbabakasyon and then they leave the house.

PSUPT. MOLITAS:  Una po sa lahat, ang mas—per experience po, ang nakikita talaga natin iyong sunog. So, we would like to remind our kababayans po na magbabakasyon or aalis po to please unplug iyong ating appliances. Kung meron po tayong mga designated security officers, also we should have their numbers para po meron tayong monitor din. I-secure po natin iyong ating mga bintana, ating mga pinto; all our mga kagamitan na mahal po i-secure po natin, ipasok po natin sa loob ng bahay natin.

Also, please if you have deliveries sa inyong mga bahay, i-suspend po siguro natin, because it’s almost 5 days po na wala tayo. Siguro po iyong ating ringer ng phones, i-low tone po natin, since wala naman po—lalo na kung wala po tayong iiwanan na kasambahay.

Also, your blinds and your shades to normal positions, also please—

The most important thing po that we have been experiencing right now is the use of social media. And we have been repeating this time and again, especially to our parents to please manage our children using the social media to please not use the ATM, at the moment… you know, #ATM, itinerary.

Of course everyone wants to keep abreast you know or update every one of what you do and your itinerary. But if it is not necessary, you can always post it after, para po sa seguridad ng ating mga anak lalo na at ng ating mga kababayan.

We have also noticed that people would post their tickets, their passports, their flight itinerary. Mas maganda po siguro kung hindi natin ito ibigay ‘no especially iyong ating—those are private data that’s contained on your tickets and your passport. We remind everyone to please be cautious of your security.

And secondly, one of the things that we have encountered here is of course the health/security, which—medyo may mga nahihilo, iyon pong ating mga gamot. Please drink enough, bring enough food for our children and for our elderly especially na bumibiyahe po.

We have inspected, you know iyong ating bus terminals and meron po tayo talagang mga elderly and kids who are travelling, mga may sakit din, meron din po. So please make sure that we have enough medicine and food or we are in touch with health agents po, we have Red Cross.

Please approach our Assistance Desk, we have joint forces, we have the Department of Health, Red Cross and of course the police. Please ask for any assistance immediately, so we can provide you the correct assistance also.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ma’am, just one last. Iyong sa use of social media. Would you have cases na na-record na ganoon iyong nangyari na nag-post sila and then natunton or na-monitor noong mga criminal elements?

PSUPT. MOLITAS:  On our experience po kasi is the posting of this itinerary allows also criminals to monitor if you are not in your house. So these are the things that we have encountered. These also are the things that we have discussed with the ACG, kasi we discussed about these cases on social media. So mostly theft po iyong nakikita natin na nangyayari kapag po napo-post natin na wala tayo doon sa ating mga kabahayan. So, iyon po iyong nakikita natin. So, it’s very important, parent please secure your children especially.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ma’am, sa PDEA po or sa PNP. I think this week ‘no, si Secretary Cayetano and who was segued by Secretary Roque that some human rights groups maybe unwittingly funded by drug lords. Do you have evidence to back up such a claim?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Sir, of course, that is still a subject of further investigation by all law enforcement agencies. But seeing the trend of how they attack the anti-drug campaign, I guess we can only surmise that it might be unwitting to the human rights groups that they are being, kumbaga, capitalized or maybe just leveraged by the groups.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: This is a conjecture or do we have this as a factual claim?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Well, as we said, sir, we still have to dig further on this. But you can see the attack against the anti-drug campaign, while law enforcement agencies like PDEA and the PNP are making honest efforts on the ground. Just like the last operation that happened last Friday which is really a joint operation between us and the Philippine National Police drug enforcement group. Makikita ninyo naman, sir, there were no casualties as well. It was a really a planned, a well-planned anti-drug operation.

So we’d like to standby our efforts na kami, we’re doing our job according to the rule of law.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is it an attack on the operations or the extrajudicial killings that come with the operations?

DIRECTOR CARREON: We’d like to believe, sir, it’s the campaign itself; it’s not just about the deaths arising from such operations.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The PNP, sir, baka may data kayo na separate from the PNP to back up the claims of the two secretaries?

PCSUP. BULALACAO: We have none right now. But as what has been mentioned by PDEA, kami naman ay patuloy na iba-validate itong ganitong report na maaaring ginagamit ng drug syndicates itong ating mga human rights groups para i-discredit ang efforts ng ating pamahalaan.

LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: Sir, clarification lang for PDEA: Sir, are you equating any criticism of anti-drug operations with an attempt with drug lords, any criticism direct ano na … galing na sa drug lords agad?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Well, hindi naman po, ma’am. Pero gaya ng sinabi natin, there might be a possibility na sinasakyan na ito ng mga kalaban natin. Siyempre dahil any damage or any attack against the campaign is of course advantageous to the other side.

LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: So, sir, given that, how are you treating criticisms from human rights organizations? Are you even trying to look into the possible basis of their comments or just disregard?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Well, as you can see, ma’am, as far as PDEA is concerned and even our counterparts from the PNP, we have made adjustments on the ground in order that we would not be criticized negatively in regard to the conduct of such operations.

We’ve been transparent. We’ve been inviting media. We invite other stakeholders. We wear body cameras. We even allow other stakeholders to join us in entering the area para naman po makita nila, we have been adjusting as well in order to dispel any notions that operations are conducted with any kind of irregularities.

LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: Sir, na-mention ninyo you are already looking into the possibility that human rights groups might be unwittingly used by drug lords. Sir, when did these investigations start and how far have you gone?

DIRECTOR CARREON: This has just been a recent finding, so we cooperate closely with our counterparts from PNP, NBI and all other agencies, including intelligence agencies kung kailangan.

LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: Sir, for the record: Is PDEA open to criticism?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Yes, ma’am. In fact, if you peruse from all the pronouncements of Director General Aaron Aquino, sabi nga niya, “Sumama kayo. Join us and you will see.” If you have any corrections on our part or for our effort, why not.

In fact, kaya nga, ma’am, sabi niya, if a media personality joins us, we will request them to wear the protective equipment including the body camera so that if and when, for instance, the agent will turn around and not show kung ano iyong nangyayari sa ground, nandoon naman iyong media, nandoon din iyong barangay official or any other stakeholder para naman po makita kung ano talaga iyong nangyari.

LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: Hindi naman mali-link agad sa drug lord, sir?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Alin, ma’am?

LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: Any critic.

DIRECTOR CARREON: Hindi nga, ma’am. As we said, it’s not about immediately linking it, pero you cannot discount the fact na ang kalaban natin ay sasakyan iyong kahit anong kritisismo laban sa kampaniya.

PIA GUTIERREZ.ABS-CBN: Kay Sir Derrick. Sir, what kind of investigation will you be doing? Ibig sabihin po ba nito, titingnan ninyo isa-isa iyong mga personalities behind these human rights organizations, check their … iyong mga connections po nila or even check their personalities just to verify these claims na ginagamit sila ng mga human rights groups even unwittingly?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Yes, ma’am, perhaps it might include that or any link for that matter. Just to look into the possibility na—we’d like to think na such criticisms are done with the intent of being constructive. But nevertheless, any damage to the campaign is, of course, kumbaga it makes our efforts… kumbaga, not necessarily nil pero it affects our efforts somehow na gusto nilang bahiran ng doubt. We have in fact—adjustments have been made on the ground by our agency, by our main counterpart the PNP and we’d like to standby the regularity of our operations.

PIA GUTIERREZ.ABS-CBN: Sir, looking forward po. Are you looking into possible filing of cases dito sa mga human rights organizations?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Well, medyo malayo-layo pa po iyon. As far as we are concerned, iniingatan lang po natin iyong kampaniya because no one can discount the fact that we have made strides of success, in tandem with the PNP and other law enforcement agencies, in this campaign.

And Director General Aaron Aquino, as also the concurrent chairman of the Interagency Committee on the Anti-illegal Drugs, wants to move forward with the campaign. And that’s why we are pushing for not just pure law enforcement operations but intensified demand reduction and even harm reduction efforts with the upcoming establishment or launching of our Balay SIlangan and iyong Gawad Sagisag ng Tagumpay Laban sa Iligal na Droga which will be awarded to local government units who will support or who will help us implement the harm reduction program.

RONRON CALUNSOD/KYODO NEWS: Sir, Director Carreon or Chief Superintendent Bulalacao. In light of the ICC issue, since we already withdrew but the ICC said it will take a year for the effectivity of that withdrawal. I’m wondering, sir, if should the ICC special prosecutor request official data from your offices about the anti-drugs campaign, will you comply with this request, sir?

PCSUP. BULALACAO: On the part of the PNP, we will. Provided, there will be an approval from the higher office – in this case, the DILG or Malacañang. But just the same, a process should also be observed.

RONRON CALUNSOD/KYODO NEWS: PDEA, sir?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Same answer with PDEA.

RONRON CALUNSOD/KYODO NEWS: Sir, can you tell us about the meetings by General Aquino with the UN ODC Indonesia Narcotics head and then Colombo, anong naging discussions nila a few days ago, sir?

DIRECTOR CARREON: Well, it’s more on iyong best practices that can be adopted in relation to implementing or improving the anti-drug campaign. It was a full week meeting in the UN ODC 61st CND, and it’s a high level meeting. So, fortunately, they were able to share good practices on how to further improve efforts on the ground.

MODERATOR: Kay Chief Superintendent Bulalacao. Sir, kumusta na raw iyong sa colorum, iyong PNP Highway na inorderan ni Presidente to strengthen?

PCSUP. BULALACAO: Yes, patuloy naman na ginagampanan ng Highway Patrol ang kanilang tungkulin lalung-lalo na doon sa kautusan ng ating Presidente na i-address iyong colorum. In fact yesterday, the Director of the Highway Patrol has already reported to have impounded more than 30 buses here in Metro Manila and quite a number also in the provinces.

ASEC. BANAAG: Again, maraming salamat, Rocky. And to the Malacañang Press Corps, maraming salamat po. To everyone and dito po sa ating bansa at sa mga kababayan natin na nasa ibang lugar, have a blessed Lent. And sana po ay makapagmuni-muni tayo during this season.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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