By Arjay L. Balinbin
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an order institutionalizing the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS), which the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) formulated to address the drug problem in the country.
Signed on Oct. 29, Executive Order No. 66 noted that DDB’s PADS “outlines the balanced efforts of the government to strengthen its campaign against prohibited drugs and their precursors, and contribute to international efforts to counter the worldwide illegal drug problem.”
Hence, this order directs all government offices, departments, bureaus, agencies and offices, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, to “implement the PADS in accordance with their respective mandates.”
These agencies are also directed to submit to the DDB, as the lead agency in the implementation of the program, their respective implementing and operation plans.
The agencies mentioned, including Local Government Units (LGUs), “shall formulate and adopt their respective Drug-Free Workplace Programs, and conduct authorized drug testing among their respective officials and personnel….”
In its Oct. 15 statement, the DDB said PADS “will serve as the framework of action in ensuring drug abuse prevention and control in line with the current priorities of the Duterte Administration.”
“As emphasis is given to the supply reduction efforts including aggressive law enforcement to address the drug problem in the Philippines, we also highlight the importance of treatment and rehabilitation, reintegration and continuum of care for drug users. This concept is given importance through the ‘whole of nation’ approach which we have continuously advocated,” DDB Chairman Secretary Catalino S. Cuy said in the statement.