A CONGRESSMAN has filed a bill mandating cremation facilities to destroy seized illegal drugs for free and, in exchange, avail of a 10% tax credit.

“If this is enacted into law, we may stop the pilferage and recycling of illegal drugs and anti-drug agents will not have excuses to allow confiscated drugs to stay longer in their custody,” House dangerous drugs panel chairman and Surigao del Sur Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers said in a statement.

House Bill No. 9668 would mandate cremation facilities to offer free services for the destruction of confiscated, seized, or surrendered illegal drugs.

A cremation facility that offers free services in destroying drugs will be entitled to a 10% tax credit but up to P50,000 of the taxable gross income for a period of two years. 

Mr. Barbers said cremation facilities must be equipped with “extensive new infrastructure” that can handle high temperatures in destroying drugs.

The Philippine Drug and Enforcement Agency (PDEA) would be tasked to assign cremation facilities, with preference to those nearest to the court having jurisdiction over the drug case or the facility where the drugs were seized.

The actual destruction will be done under a court order. It should also be witnessed by a PDEA officer, an elected public official, a representative from the National Prosecution Service, and representatives from media and civil society groups.

The PDEA must also issue a certification on the destruction and disposal process in 24 hours.

“Failure or refusal to render free destruction of any seized illegal drugs by the concerned facilities would be a ground for the suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of license or permit to operate said businesses,” Mr. Barbers said.

The House dangerous drugs committee last month recommended charges against former cops involved in the recycling of 990 kilograms of crystal meth, locally known as shabu, which were seized in Manila City last year. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz