PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday ordered the country’s national and regional peace and order councils to focus on addressing cases of political violence and illegal drugs, the presidential palace said in a statement.  

At a meeting on Tuesday with the councils, which are composed of representatives from different agencies and local government leaders, Mr. Marcos Jr. said they should stop the spread of illegal firearms to deter violence.  

The joint meeting sought to update the president on peace and order issues and provide policy recommendations, the Presidential Communications Office said. 

Mr. Marcos said recent cases of political violence after the May 2022 national and local elections showed that these threats to peace and order persist.  

He said law enforcement agencies should also do something about drug syndicates fighting over territory. 

“These quarrels stem from the territorial fights over areas where drugs are distributed, who controls the drug trade in that area,” the president said. “We really need to monitor these closely and dismantle these activities.”  

A total of 261,642 anti-illegal drug operations conducted from 2016 to 2022 resulted in the arrests of 376,582 drug personalities, the Palace said.  

At the same event, Mr. Marcos said the five-man advisory group tasked to determine the possible drug links of third-level police officers would probably finish their review in two weeks.  

“It’s a very complicated system, and it’s a very complicated situation,” he said. “We cannot move on the basis of gossip.”   

In January, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. called on all senior cops to resign after a probe found many high-ranking police officers were involved in the illegal drug trade. 

“The police have to be with us,” Mr. Marcos said. “We need to have a good, functioning police force.” John Victor D. Ordoñez