There would be no sacred cows in the Marcos administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos said Saturday, assuring a “bloody but not deadly” approach in the coming days.
“There will be bloodshed because many people will be locked up and we won’t have any sacred cows. You will be taken into custody whether you are a colleague, a police officer, or PDEA agent,” Abalos said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, the proposed measure legalizing the use of medical marijuana should be carefully studied as it might be prone to abuse, the DILG said.
Abalos made the remark after a group of parents called for the passage of a law that will give them easier access to affordable cannabis products without the risk of getting jailed.
The Cabinet official feared that it could be a “gateway drug.”
“Let’s just make sure it’s airtight. Otherwise, it would be a pity on the children,” he added.
Last month, the Marcos administration launched the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” or BIDA program, which seeks to fight the drug problem through demand reduction and rehabilitation of persons who use illegal drugs.
In a statement on Thursday, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomed the government’s new strategy while also calling for an investigation into claims of abuses by the authorities.
“Genuine reform and policy shift also necessitate ascertaining [the] accountability of all perpetrators, including police personnel and liable officials, who are allegedly involved in killings related to the drug campaign in the previous and current administrations,” the CHR said.
“Parallel, sustained efforts in resolving the thousands of drug-related killings will demonstrate the government’s seriousness in giving justice to victims and curbing impunity.”
According to the DILG, since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed office in June, 22,646 drug personalities were arrested in 18,505 anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the Philippine National Police nationwide.
The PNP confiscated various illegal drugs valued at P9.7 billion during the operations, the DILG added.
Dr. Donnabel Trias-Cunanan, president and spokesperson of Cannahopefuls Inc., spoke before the Senate Subcommittee on Health and Demography, which is tackling Senate Bill 230 or An Act Granting Access to Medical Cannabis as a Compassionate Alternative Means of Medical Treatment.
Cunanan has been advocating for the medical use of cannabis since 2013 after her child was diagnosed with an intractable form of epilepsy, global developmental delay, and cerebral palsy.
Although they completed all the requirements, Cunanan said they can only buy medicine that costs $32,000 because this is the only drug that meets the specific guidelines set by the Food and Drugs Administration.