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Where are gov’t targets for drug war?

The Duterte administration seems to have consigned Vice President Leni Robredo’s “ICAD Co-Chairperson’s Report” to the dustbin of history. That would be a tremendous loss to the country, because the report’s sole intention, per its Statement of Purpose, is to provide “an honest insight on the state of the campaign against illegal drugs and present recommendations to improve its implementation.” And that is what it does.

The government itself should have given that honest insight, as it did with respect to the rest of its socioeconomic agenda in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, and its accompanying Results Matrices.

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Who, specifically, in government? The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is mandated to do this annually through its Statistical Indicators on Philippine Development, or StatDev. The PSA uses the baseline data given in the PDP-RM, and every year, it seeks written, signed updates from 65 data source

agencies, which it uses to make an honest insight on the government’s performance. Who can ask for anything more evidence-based than that?

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Well then, what is the honest insight of the StatDev re the campaign against illegal drugs?

That’s where the problem is, Reader. The StatDev has rendered judgment on where the government is with respect to its targets on governance, justice, agriculture, industry, services, human capital development, infrastructure, competitiveness (its judgment, based on data from 65 government data sources, is that the performance overall has been “medium”). These are all part of PDP 2017-2022 and its Results Matrices—all 627 of them. But it is silent with respect to drugs and criminality, which are also part of the Plan. Why?

Are you ready for the answer? It is because PDP 2017-2022 does NOT have targets for drugs and criminality. All the other sectors have their quantifiably measurable indicators of success against which they can be judged, all contained in their respective chapters, but not Peace (Ch. 17) nor Security, Public Safety and Order (Ch. 18).

Apparently, it was decided that publishing the targets might endanger national security.

Come again? One can understand where national security may be at stake when it comes to the peace negotiations with the Bangsamoro and the communists. But what is there about the Philippine drug problem that is so sensitive that national security might be jeopardized? If you can think of something that speaks to this question, Reader, please do not hesitate to let me know.

In any case, the implication is that there are targets, but the relevant agencies (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippine National Police) just didn’t want to risk publishing them. So where are those targets now? When the Vice President was cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD), she couldn’t find any targets, according to her report. And when the President and his minions threw the book at her for bringing this up, they didn’t say that there were targets, and that these were too sensitive to publish (or to show to the Vice President), they merely attacked her persona.

Bollocks. What I suspect is that the relevant agencies (PDEA, DDB, PNP) weren’t quite sure why they should set targets like everybody else. Or maybe they were too proud to ask the PSA, or the National Economic and Development Authority, to help them come up with some. I have asked my University of the Philippines class in Econ 191 (EconDev) to do the same thing—come up with measurable targets based on the baseline data and the initial assessment and strategic framework in Ch. 18. It’s not hard.

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I will risk going further. Maybe these agencies have short memories as well. Because they seem to have forgotten very important parts of Ch. 18, like: “In all activities to address criminality, respect for human rights should be upheld and observed at all times. Mechanisms for reporting and addressing human rights violations should also be strengthened to ensure that violators are prosecuted” (p. 272-273). Further Ch. 18, among others, recognizes the need to upgrade its jail facilities and substantially increase drug rehabilitation centers.

That is why the Robredo Report is so valuable. It takes a good hard look at our anti-illegal drugs campaign, what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong, and how to fix what is wrong. We ignore it at our peril.

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TAGS: Duterte administration, ICAD, Philippine Development Plan, Vice President Leni Robred
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