Drugs and crime

Three to six months was the deadline he gave as a campaign promise. Yet, even after a year in Malacañang, President Rodrigo Duterte is nowhere near achieving his dream of a drug-free Philippines.

On paper, his administration’s approach to the drug problem appears to be holistic: increasing rehabilitation centers, resolving case backlogs, educating children about the evils of drugs. All of which remain unfulfilled.

As of June 20, 2017, there have been 3,200 deaths in the government’s drug war, most of them poor people. He also fired the head of the Dangerous Drugs Board for estimating the number of drug users at 1.8 million based on a survey, much smaller than a baseless 3 million figure.

We look into how Duterte fared on the rule of law so far:

On creating an inter-agency committee on illegal drugs

PROMISE: "We will create an Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD) that will integrate efforts and strengthen the partnership of all stakeholders."

Duterte signed Executive Order No. 15 on March 6, 2017 establishing the creation of an inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD) and anti-illegal drug task force to suppress the drug problem in the country.

Led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the committee is mandated to ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities down to street-level peddlers and users.

On mobilizing reservists for information campaign against drug use

PROMISE: "The reservists will be mobilized for information campaign against drug use and the dissemination of information regarding drug rehabilitation programs being offered by the government."

In February 2017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said an executive order has yet to be signed by the president to formalize their support for the government’s campaign vs. drugs. No mention of whether reservists will be mobilized.

On strengthening the ROTC program

PROMISE: "Let us also strengthen our ROTC Program to instill love of country and good citizenship."

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana to certify as priority the bill to implement mandatory Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in Grades 11 and 12 of the country's public and private schools.

Two bills seeking to integrate ROTC in Grades 11 and 12 have been referred to the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.

On increasing the number of residential treatment, rehab facilities

PROMISE: "We will increase the number of residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities in all regions of the country. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will facilitate the preparation for the use of military camps and facilities for drug rehabilitation."

The number of DOH-accredited government-owned residential rehabilitation centers remains at 15, based on March 2017 data furnished by Dangerous Drugs Board to VERA Files. From 44 in July 2016, the number of DOH-accredited rehab centers increased to 48 in March 2017. However, the increase is attributed to additional NGO-maintained centers.

Duterte signed Executive Order No. 4 in October 2016 which created the Inter-agency Task Force for the establishment and support of Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers nationwide.



DOH-accredited rehabilitation centers
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On streamlining investigation and case management processes

PROMISE: "To address backlogs and low prosecutorial effectiveness and efficiency, the investigation and case management processes shall be streamlined including those for illegal drugs and heinous crimes."

No formal order to streamline and fast-track the resolution of drug-related cases has been issued. However, the Department of Justice reported it has resolved 88.5 percent or 334,100 criminal complaints under the Duterte administration.


DOJ criminal cases
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A total of 23,184 convictions were secured by the DOJ, which translates to a success rate of 76.7 percent convictions out of total convictions and acquittals, and 30.05 percent convictions out of all criminal cases disposed by trial courts.

PDEA has filed a total of 20,652 drug-related cases from July 2016 to May 25, 2017.

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to declog the courts of drug-related cases, reducing backlogs from 70 to 20 percent, is pending in the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.

Cases filed by PDEA
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On increasing spending on basic education

PROMISE: "We are planning to increase spending on basic education and incorporate mandatory education about the evils of drugs."

With P568.4 billion, the Department of Education got the biggest share of the budget allocated to executive departments to fund programs and projects for 21.9 million students. This is 31.1 percent higher than last year’s P433.4 billion.

On incorporating mandatory education about the evils of drugs

PROMISE: "We are planning to increase spending on basic education and incorporate mandatory education about the evils of drugs."

But rehashed.

The DepEd in 2016 released Department Order No. 200, s. 2016 to reiterate its support in strengthening the National Drug Education Program (NDEP) in schools. A similar order was released in 2009, under the leadership of DepEd Sec. Ramon Bacani.

On enacting the Whistleblower Protection Law

PROMISE: "To eradicate the prevalent cultures of fear and silence that have hounded our justice system, I asked Congress to enact the Whistleblower Protection Law while the present Witness Protection Program shall be strengthened."

Twelve separate bills seeking the protection and benefits of whistleblowers have been filed in the lower house, all of which are stalled in the House Committee on Justice.

Meanwhile, seven bills on whistleblower protection, including the provision of benefits and security are pending in the Senate Committee on Justice.

On strengthening the Witness Protection Program

PROMISE: "To eradicate the prevalent cultures of fear and silence that have hounded our justice system, I asked Congress to enact the Whistleblower Protection Law while the present Witness Protection Program shall be strengthened."

Seven bills seeking to strengthen witness protection or provide rewards are pending in the House Committee on Justice. Senator Joel Villanueva also filed a similar bill the Senate which seeks to amend the existing WPP law.

On protecting women’s rights

PROMISE: "Consistent with our international obligations, in keeping with national mandates, this administration vows to protect women’s rights and human rights abuses against our women."


On labor force participation of women

Almost half of Filipino women are unemployed. Labor force participation of women based on October 2016 PSA data is 49.3 percent compared to while 77.9 percent for Filipino men.

On violence against women

2016 data from the Women and Children Protection Center show there have been 40,536 reported incidents of violence against women, 16 percent lower than 48,253 reported cases in 2015. (no monthly data available)

Find out how Duterte fared in other sectors here.

FOR FURTHER READING

Is that so? Can we turn military camps into drug rehabilitation centers?

By sending drug dependents to military camps, President Rodrigo Duterte may have ticked off yet…

2016 SONA promise tracker

How did the president fare with the rest of his 2016 SONA promises?

Social services

2016 SONA promises on social services

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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