DDB asks for P15M budget to get the number of drug users right

Saturday, November 25th, 2017. Filed under: Asian News News Philippine News

MANILA, Nov 17 (Mabuhay) — The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) has requested a P15-million budgetary allocation from the Senate finance committee for it to finally determine the “accurate” number of drug users in the country.

This was disclosed by Senator Panfilo Lacson during the Senate interpellation on the proposed 2018 budget of the DDB Thursday night. Lacson sponsored the DDB’s budget.

“They requested for a P15-million funding so they can conduct a more accurate survey on the number of drug users,” Lacson said when asked by Senator Risa Hontiveros on the conflicting claims on the number of drug users.

Lacson said he suggested to DDB to put the money “into good use by getting a more reputable survey firm…so we can, more or less, be certain whenever we deal with the figures.”

A former DDB chairman, Benjamin Reyes, was sacked by Duterte for presenting numbers that contradicted the government’s statistics on illegal drugs. According to Reyes, there are only 1.8 million drug users in the country.

Duterte, however, has repeatedly used the figure of four million drug addicts to justify his war on drugs.

Lacson explained that the 1.8 million number was done by a private survey firm, while the four million figure came from the Philippine National Police (PNP) based on its Oplan Tokhang or its door-to-door campaign convincing drug users to surrender.

Hontiveros said it was necessary to determine the actual figure, saying it would have budgetary implications for other agencies, such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Department of Health (DOH).

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, former DDB chairman, meanwhile said it would not be a surprise if the number of drug users have reached three million.

“From 2011 to 2016, the fight against drugs was never really serious. So the three million or four million is not farfetched at all,” he said.

The DDB is requesting for a total budget of P150.9 million for 2018. (MNS)

Share Button