Drug war under Marcos ‘as intensive as before’: new DILG chief

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Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. told reporters on July 4, 2022 that Ferdinand
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. told reporters on July 4, 2022 that Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s drug war will be "as intensive as before". (Source: Benjamin Abalos, Jr./Facebook)

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos said that the war on drugs under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “will be as intensive as before” under his watch, he said in an interview with reporters on Monday (July 4).

However, Abalos assured that he will institute reforms in the conduct of the drug operation, make a stronger case against drug offenders and push for fewer dismissal of cases, clean the ranks of police and provide them support, and address the root cause of the drug problem in the country.

As a mayor of Mandaluyong City, he said that one of the things he saw as lacking in probing drug-related crimes is the lack of witnesses, as mandated by the Dangerous Drugs Act Section 21 which requires an elected official (usually a barangay official) and a representative from the National Prosecution Service or a member of the media to serve as witnesses.

He said that he will encourage local government units to assign personnel from the National Prosecution Service for this, and also suggested involving the youth, parents, schools, churches, and communities in what he calls a “people power” against illegal drugs.

“We will involve other concerned government agencies, and most importantly, the communities, to make sure that we have a comprehensive campaign against illegal drugs,” Abalos said.

Abalos also promised to cleanse the Philippine National Police, which is under the Department of Interior and Local Government, although he claimed that erring police officials are just a small percentage of the total police force. He also said that he will institute better protection for police personnel against drug syndicates.

Likening the problem of drugs to a tree, he said, “Even if you cut the branches, a new branch will grow. Drug pushers are the branches. If they are jailed, someone might just replace them.”

Abalos said that it is also important to cut the root – “unemployment, education, and family,” he said.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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