Gov’t conducts survey for ‘accurate drug statistics’ amid ongoing drug war

By: Darryl John Esguerra - Inquirer.net | December 12,2019 - 03:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino on Thursday said the government has started conducting a survey to determine the number of users and pushers in the Philippines, more than three years after President Rodrigo Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs.

The lack of scientific baseline data was among Vice President Leni Robredo’s findings in her short stint as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

But Aquino noted that the survey, which was being done by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), started even before Robredo’s appointment in the anti-drug body.

“It’s being done by the Dangerous Drugs Board. It’s a more scientific way of determining the number of (drug) users and pushers (in the Philippines),” Aquino said in mixed Filipino.

“I was informed that by the first quarter of 2020 ilalabas ‘yung survey na ‘yun (it will be released). But I cannot give you a detailed way of how they conducted the survey,” he added.

The PDEA chief likewise admitted the government has been using a “less accurate” baseline data in its ongoing crackdown against illegal drugs.

“We have four million kaya lang hindi siya masyadong scientific, hindi ganun ka-accurate (but it’s really not that scientific and not that accurate) and that’s the reason why the DDB is doing something to have a better and more accurate and more scientific way of getting the figure,” he explained.

Since taking power in 2016, Duterte has made the crackdown on illegal drugs the focal point of his administration, continuing the brutal campaign against illegal drugs that he used in Davao City while he was its mayor.

Local and international human rights watchdogs have condemned Duterte’s drug war, citing alleged violations of human rights. But the Duterte administration has vehemently denied and repeatedly countered critics of the President’s war on drugs.

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