Easing up the quarantine measures in the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) means a tightening up of government’s battle against illegal drugs.
This is the warning of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to drug syndicates as the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) has begun in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas.
“Habang lumuluwag na ang quarantine levels sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa ay siya rin namang paghihigpit ng kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. The DILG and PNP (Philippine National Police) will work double time in maintaining the drop of the crime rate in the country that was achieved during the stricter quarantine period,” he said.
Año said this after Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace S. Barbers, chairperson of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, alerted the PNP about the possible resumption of illegal drug operations with the implementation of GCQ in NCR and other localities.
“Malaki ang epekto ng quarantine sa pagparalisa ng drug syndicates. Dumami rin ang boluntaryong nagbigay ng impormasyon sa pulisya laban sa illegal drug peddlers ngayong panahon ng quarantine. The DILG and the PNP will see to it that the momentum and gains in the anti-illegal drugs campaign will be sustained to protect our citizenry from the menace of illegal drugs,” Año said.
Reports also claimed that some illegal drug users have forcefully withdrawn from using illicit substances due to lack of supply during the quarantine.
“Sana nga tuloy-tuloy nang itigil ng ilang kababayan nating nalulong at nabiktima ng iligal na droga ang paggamit nito. Kung paano kayo nag-iingat at iniiwasang magkasakit ng COVID-19, ganon din sana ang gawin ninyong pag-iwas at paghinto sa paggamit ng iligal na droga para maging totally drug-free na kayo,” Año said.
PNP forces have been directed to quell the illicit drug trade at all stages of the supply chain, from the production of raw materials to the distribution on the street.
While Año lauded the improved peace and order amid the quarantine period with a notable absence of looting incidences, he said the PNP was instructed to keep its guard up and maintain the drop in eight focus crimes of murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, car theft, and motorcycle theft.