Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go stressed the need for the government to continue the fight against dangerous drugs and to prioritize the safety and welfare of Filipinos as he supported the plans and programs of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) ).
During a budget hearing held by the Senate Committee on Finance on Wednesday, September 28, Go emphasized that if the problem with dangerous drugs reemerges, then so might the country’s problems with crime and corruption.
While the country has done so much since 2016 in the fight against dangerous drugs, he said that the government must continue what it has started.
The safety of Filipinos must continue to be a top priority, Go stressed, even though the country has made great strides in the fight against illegal drugs.
He expressed his confidence that the PDEA and DDB are “more than up for the challenge” of combating the country’s drug problem, as they have exemplified in the past administration.
“The work of the PDEA and the DDB are crucial to our continuing campaign against illegal drugs and criminality,” said Go.
Meanwhile, the senator also agreed with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s push for the drug problem to be addressed through prevention and rehabilitation. He reiterated his call for a multifaceted strategy to combat the problem.
“We must remember that drug users are victims in need of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual help. They can still be productive members of our society, and we must endeavor to take care of them as we do any other Filipino,” said Go.
“As much as we focus on the law-enforcement side of our anti-drug campaign, we must also ensure that our efforts on treatment and rehabilitation are just as relentless,” he added.
The senator filed Senate Bill (SB) 428 which will establish a drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center in every province.
He urged the PDEA and the DDB to work closely with the Department of Health in planning and formulating policies and programs on drug prevention and control, in order for the government to succeed in its efforts against illegal drugs, and to rehabilitate victims of drug addiction.
During the hearing, Go also shared that he filed SB 419, or the “Magna Carta of Benefits for the Officers and Personnel of the PDEA,” which seeks to recognize the contributions of PDEA officers and personnel who protect the country even as their jobs constantly put them at risk of injury and other serious incidents.
Go hopes that with the proposed budgets of the agencies, it will be possible to support and promote the welfare of their officers even though the government has not yet enacted its proposed measure into law.