BELIEVE it or not but the vaunted Oplan: Tokhang of Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa has been described as a major breakthrough in the history of drug law enforcement in the country and the rest of the world amid criticisms from human rights groups and other international leaders.
Since July 1, Gen. Dela Rosa’s PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign Plan called Project: Double Barrel has triggered the conduct of nearly 23,700 police anti-narcotics operations which led in the arrest of over 22,700 known drug personalities and the killing of nearly 1,400 armed drug traffickers during gunfights with arresting officers.
The conduct of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang during the period has also resulted in the surrender of around 734,000 confessed drug personalities composed of more than 680,000 shabu or marijuana users and over 53,000 drug traffickers. Police have already visited nearly 1.7 million houses since the Oplan: Tokhang was implemented.
These operations, however, have cost the lives of 13 policemen and three soldiers and injuries to 38 other police officers and eight Armed Forces personnel.
In his 100-day report on the war against illegal drugs, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said the voluntary surrender during the period of 733,635 drug personalities which comprises 24 percent of the 3.7 million drug users nationwide is considered a ‘breakthrough in the history of drug law enforcement in the country.’
Due to the mass surrender, the retired 3-star police general said that shabu consumption was reduced to 2.24 metric tons that translates to P5.59 billion proceeds loss of drug syndicates, and the crime rate was reduced by 49 percent.
“Further, the strong political will of shame-naming the drug protectors in the government instilled fear among those involved in the illegal drug trade and made them yield to authorities. The reinforced implementation of jail management systems had also positive effects in the reduction of drugs on the streets,” he said.
The intensified anti-drug campaign all over the country has caused a rapid increase of the street price of shabu in the local market, Lapeña said.
“From P1,200 to P11,000 per gram in January to June 2016, shabu now ranges from P1,200 to P25,000 per gram. This is the highest since 2002,” he pointed out while citing that when the market price of illegal drugs rises, it is generally assessed that there is scarcity of supply.
Lapeña said the price of shabu in the streets has skyrocketed to more than double or triple its previous value due to lack of supply attributed to the ongoing massive anti-drugs campaign ordered by President Duterte.
“The current street price of shabu continues its rapid rise and now ranges from P1,200 to P25,000 per gram, the highest since 2002 following the government’s intensified anti-drug campaign. This shows an increase of 127.27 percent as compared to its previous price of P1,200 to P11,000 per gram from January to June 2016,” said the PDEA chief.
The sharp increase in the cost of shabu was believed to have been sparked by the continuing Project: Double Barrel ordered by Gen. Dela Rosa vis-a-vis with the PDEA crackdown on shabu which remains the top drug choice of Filipinos.
The PDEA chief said the price structure of shabu varies depending on the area or place of transaction, payments, and on the quality/purity of the substance. The street price of shabu is lowest in Region 9 or Western Mindanao at P1,200 per gram, while in Region 12 or in Central Mindanao, it is pegged at P25,000 per gram which is the highest in the country.
“The scarcity in the supply of shabu can be attributed to the dismantling of seven clandestine laboratories this year, five of them under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and the massive crackdown on high-value drug personalities,” Lapeña said in explaining why prices of shabu are inversely proportional to the supply nowadays.
“The cost of shabu has reached an all-time high, thanks to the revitalized national anti-drug campaign. We have successfully minimized the supply of shabu in the market and currently maximizing our drug-demand reduction efforts in the communities to complement the former,” the PDEA chief said.
“It is noteworthy that it only took one hundred days to accomplish these achievements in response to the self-imposed obligation of the President. We can do more. The intensified war on drugs, at present, is seen, felt, and more importantly, participated in by the Filipino people, thus making the challenge, though overwhelming, becoming more and more attainable,” Lapeña said.