By Roy Ramos
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday asked the Senate for an additional PHP934 million ($18.23 million) for its 2018 budget to keep up with the police in the war on drugs.
The requested funds are on top of the PHP1.4 billion ($27.61 million) that will help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte suppress illegal drugs in the country, said PDEA officials during House budget deliberations early this month.
The agency earlier justified the PHP1.4 billion, saying it would be spent for
The additional PHP934 million would be used to establish provincial, district and urban offices in several locations, seaport and airport interagency drug interdiction task groups, for acquiring and training drug-sniffing K9 dogs, the recruitment,
The agency’s role in the anti-drug campaign has been questioned by the Senate finance committee as policy efforts may have overlapped its functions.
"I have been hearing from Senator Risa Hontiveros that the PDEA should be in charge of the anti-drug campaign. For your information, the law is very specific: the PDEA is in charge of the law enforcement function," Dionisio Santiago, former PDEA chief and current chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board, was quoted as saying by Philippine-based online news portal Rappler.
Santiago said he wished the agency had the capacity to contribute more to the campaign, but due to “limited manpower, it is easier said than done".
The agency is currently composed of 1,041 operatives nationwide to coordinate with more than 190,000 police officers for anti-drug operations, said PDEA
Duterte last month said he had been contemplating Aquino’s suggestion for the PDEA to lead the government’s war on drugs due to reported abuses committed by the police.