Philippine National Police (PNP) Director for Operations, Police Major General Rhodel O. Sermonia said the PNP will go full steam on its dual approach on supply and demand reduction on its fight against illegal drugs in order to deliver a “strong finish” before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s steps down next year.

Sermonia said, like the communist armed conflict, he is confident that even in a short time left, there is still a big chance that the government can strike a conclusive overwhelming success or “strong finish” for the President’s illegal drugs campaign promises, in which the manifestations are focused on declaring majority of provinces, towns, cities and barangays drug cleared or drug free.

Sermonia said, the PNP’s basic approach to illegal drugs problem are anchored on market denial of supply of illegal drugs and insulate communities from the illegal drugs menace through community based activities in partnership with different stakeholders, which actually are not new.

In order to increase the chance of attaining the “strong finish” on illegal drugs campaign, Sermonia said the PNP Directorate for Operations will focus the direction of the campaign towards revitalizing policies and revive programs and activities that have been proven to deliver conclusive successes in the fight against illegal drugs, provide necessary operational requirements to roll out and sustain tactical engagements in this campaign such as interdiction operations, information warfare, and stakeholders’ mobilization, and synchronized multi-agency efforts to boost interoperability and collaborative partnership activities.

Sermonia added that parallel with the ongoing aggressive and intelligence-driven anti-illegal drugs operations, the neutralization of high value targets and the confiscations of millions of worth of illegal drugs, the PNP will similarly boost its demand reduction activities that gear towards clearing of barangays of illegal drug menace. This includes revitalizing the Barangay Anti-Illegal Drugs Councils (BADAC) and strengthening collaborative partnership with different stakeholders that supports the Recovery and Wellness Program (WRP) of the PNP.

The WRP is the PNP’s flagship program on community-based reformation and rehabilitation, which through the help of stakeholders, enabled government agencies to help illegal drugs personalities to avail life-changing reformation though mental health support services, livelihood trainings, spiritual and physical development, and other after-care services that will retool former illegal drug personalities to go back to the mainstream and live their lives as productive, law abiding and God fearing individuals.

Sermonia is the author of the phenomenally successful Bahay Pagbabago Reformation Centers in the province of Bataan in 2015, which template the Dangerous Drugs Board has adopted in their Balay Silangan Program.

Sermonia said, since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, RWP initiatives took a recess with the prohibition of mass gathering but the PNP-DO is now looking into reviving community-based reformation programs via online-based interactions.

Sermonia said the ultimate objective of “strong finish” is to manifest success in barangay drug clearing, which he believes is doable even in so short a time. He said that current data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) show that as of September 30 this year, 23,084 barangays out of 42,045 were already declared drug free, which comprise 54.90% of the target barangays.EC

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