MANILA To determine the accurate number of drug users and pushers in the country, the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) is conducting a more scientific survey meant to serve as the baseline data on the Duterte administration's anti-narcotics campaign.
The Dangerous Drugs' Board is conducting a national survey to determine exactly on how many are drug users and pushers, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino said in a press briefing in MalacaAang on Thursday.
I think, it's more scientific way of determining the real number of users and pushers (in the country), Aquino said.
Aquino, also chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), said he was informed that the DBB's national survey will come out in the first quarter of 2020.
He was privy on the details of the survey but pointed out that the DDB began conducting the survey even before Vice President Leni Robredo was appointed as co-chair of the ICAD.
During her two-week stint as ICAD co-chair, Robredo asked for members of the agency to produce a clear baseline data on the campaign against illegal drugs.
Robredo wanted to know the number of drug users, pushers, surrenderers, arrested individuals, court cases, and those undergoing rehabilitation to compare with current numbers and measure the drug war's progress.
The PDEA chief, meanwhile, agreed with Robredo that there has been no clear baseline data on the drug war.
In March this year, Duterte said that there are 7 to 8 million drug users in the country, which is double his estimate of between 3 to 4 million users in 2016.
Di ba nagkaroon ng drug users na (There was a time when drug users were estimated at) 4 million and then it came to a point when our President during one of his statements that drug users now is about 7 to 8 million? Aquino said.
So parang gulong-gulo ako ilan ba talaga ang drug users (So, it's confusing to me how many drug users really are there), he added.
From July 2016 to November 2019, data from the PDEA showed that a total of 151,601 anti-illegal drug operations have been conducted resulting in the arrest of 220,728 individuals and 5,552 persons killed.
In the same period, a total of 2,799 children involved in illegal drug activities were rescued during anti-drug operations.
A total of 8,185 high-value targets (HVTs) have also been arrested from July 2016 to November 2019.
Aquino said that HVTs include local and international drug groups.
He said there are currently around 186 local drug groups in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the biggest international drug group operating in the country is China's Dragon Wu Syndicate.
The ICAD is working in coordination with the narcotics board of China to neutralize and arrest all members of the syndicate, he said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency