8 September 2016
Spokesperson, Office of the Vice President
We would like to clarify that contrary to what the headline in the Manila Times says, “Robredo Belittles Duterte Drug War,” dated September 6, 2016, we neither belittle nor do we trivialize the administration’s war on drugs.
It was the vice president herself that requested for the briefing from the Department of the Interior and Local Government and other partner agencies because, we, in the Office of the Vice President want to play an active role in the fight against illegal drugs.
As VP Leni has noted in her response after the briefing, 700,000 surrenderers is a big number. The sheer number of people in need of rehabilitation demands us to pool our resources and do something about it now.
We offered our help in the rehabilitation aspect of the drug war because it is something our office has experience dealing with.
In the briefing, VP Leni shared their successful model in Naga, the Naga City People’s Council in combatting the drug issue. This model was what former DILG Secretary Jesse replicated when he established the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS) as he institutionalized the involvement of the faith-based groups and baranggay leaders in addressing the drug problems in the communities.
Furthermore, the Naga City Anti Drug Abuse Board was established and all barangays have active Baranggay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs). And the community organizations such as the Mothers Against Drugs and Barkadas Against Drugs were also initiatives that she mentioned that could be replicated in the whole country.
As VP Leni has said, our office is willing to sponsor pilot areas for drug rehabilitation and we are only waiting for the DILG’s approval and input on the specific areas we can start working on.
Again, we support the administration’s war against illegal drugs. However, we also believe that if there is no intervention, the surrenderers will remain in the same situation they are in.
Treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration are areas that should be prioritized and we urge everyone to help and support our initiatives.
We urge our colleagues from the media to make headlines more accurate and faithful to the facts, and encourage our readers to read more than the headlines.