Rody orders annual drug survey

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To determine the extent of drug abuse in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday issued an Executive Order (EO) to conduct a nationwide survey every year.

Malacañang released yesterday EO 66, issued on 29 October, directing the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to conduct the survey in coordination with the Philippine Statistics Authority which is mandated to provide technical assistance.

Last year, Duterte sacked former DDB chairman Benjamin Reyes presenting numbers that allegedly contradicted the government’s statistics on illegal drugs and only accounted at least 1.8 million drug users in the country.

Duterte, however, has repeatedly estimated that the number of drug addicts in the country has risen to around four million by that time.

The same EO also institutionalizes the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS) which “outlines the balanced efforts of the government to strengthen its campaign against prohibited drugs and their precursors and contribute to international efforts to counter the worldwide illegal drug problem.”

The President had designated the DDB as the lead agency in the implementation of the PADS.

It likewise directed government agencies, including state-run corporations, colleges and universities to formulate and submit to the DDB their respective implementing and operational plans in connection with PADS within 60 days from the effectivity of the order.

In addition, the EO ordered all government entities and local government units to implement a drug-free workplace program, authorizing as well as the conduct of drug testing among officials and personnel.

The DDB, in consultation with implementing agencies and LGUs, shall develop performance standards to ensure compliance of concerned agencies with the PADS, according to the EO.

The EO ordered all government entities and local government units to implement a drug-free workplace program.

As part of the policy review mechanism, Duterte instructed all government entities to submit to the DDB every February of each year an annual report “outlining or detailing accomplishments relative to their respective tasks, undertakings, programs and projects” under the PADS.

The EO is effective upon its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Meanwhile, the President also signed an order reviving the ancient barter trade in Mindanao.

In issuing EO 64, signed 29 October, Duterte noted barter trade “continues to thrive and evolve as a living tradition until the present day.”

Doing business through the exchange of goods, as opposed to transactions using money, was a known mode of trade during pre-colonial times.

The President ordered the creation of the Mindanao Barter Council (MBC), which shall supervise, coordinate and harmonize policies, programs and activities on barter in southern Philippines.

The MBC shall facilitate the establishment of an enabling environment conducive to the growth and development of barter in Mindanao.

The council is also tasked to formulate and issue rules and regulations on the registration or accreditation of qualified traders authorized to engage in trade within barter ports to be established in Siasi and Jolo in the province of Sulu and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.

The creation of similar barter ports in other areas shall be subject to the President’s approval.

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