By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

(File photo)

MANILA – Around 177 police officers in Metro Manila alone have been charged with drug-related offenses, amid the government’s intensified anti-narcotics drive, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said  Tuesday.

In a video message uploaded on his official Facebook page, Marcos said cases were filed against the Metro Manila cops because of planting of evidence, unlawful arrest, and excessive violence.

“Itong mga violator tungkol dito sa mga drug trade, para sa amin, hindi lang ito magagandang numero kung hindi ay talagang magiging improvement (With regard to the number of violators linked to drug trade, for us, it’s not just good numbers. It’s really an improvement),” Marcos said.

“Pinapaganda talaga natin ang komunidad natin. Pinapaganda talaga natin ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan at iniiwas natin ang mga kabataan natin diyan sa pagpasok ng lifestyle ng drug-taking (We are really making our community better. We are really making the lives of our countrymen better and we are preventing our youth from entering the drug-taking lifestyle),” he added.

Marcos added that some 121,582 of the 151,818 court cases by the Department of Justice in 2022 and 2023 have resulted in convictions of drug violators.

He vowed that there would be no letup in the anti-narcotics campaign under his watch, considering the significant strises his administration has made as it recalibrates its approach to illegal drugs.

The Philippine National Police also reported the arrest of 56,495 suspects during the conduct of over 44,000 anti-illegal drug operations.

As of Dec. 27, 2023, about 23 provinces, 447 municipalities, and 43 cities have established their respective community-based drug rehabilitation programs through the consolidated efforts of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Dangerous Drugs Board, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the PNP.

The Marcos administration has been carrying out a new approach to address illegal drugs by focusing on rehabilitation, reintegration, and preventive education programs specifically for the youth. (PNA)