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Robredo: Six months not enough for anti-drug campaign due to rehab needs

Six months will not be enough for the administration's anti-illegal drug campaign, given the amount of work needed for drug surrenderers, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday.

Robredo noted that some 700,000 drug users and pushers who have turned themselves in to authorities.

For this, there is yet to be an existing national template on rehabilitation efforts, she said.

"Ako kasi ang tingin ko, ang six months would not be enough," replied the Vice President when she was asked about the probable outcome of the campaign.

"Nag-report ang DOH (Department of Health) at sinabi nito na ang kailangan lang naman i-commit sa rehabilitation [centers] ay 10 percent no'n... So anong gagawin natin sa 630,000 [na surrenderers]?" she said.

Robredo has offered her office's help in addressing the gaps on the rehabilitation side of the administration's drive.

She was briefed earlier this week on the interagency and multi-sectoral approaches for surrenderers.

She noted that institutionalizing national programs for them may take some time and urged the agencies concerned to jumpstart rehabilitation efforts by pooling resources being offered, in particular from the private sector.

On Friday, Robredo pointed out that the government's plan on rehabilitating drug surrenderers is "evolving."

"[K]ung puwede nating i-improve, improve natin," she said, adding that "everything is falling into place," with the joint efforts of agencies concerned.

Eradicating the country's massive drug problem within three to six months was a key promise during the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The administration readily got into its intensive campaign on the matter when Duterte assumed office last June 30, with the Philippine National Police's (PNP) "double-barrel" approach, which includes inviting users and pushers to surrender to authorities, as well as running after high-value targets.

PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa had said getting rid of the drug problem 100 percent by six months is their target, but it will not likely be done within that period of time.

"In six months, dapat 100 percent. Ganun kataas ang aming objective.... Pero I am sure di namin makaya yan ng 100 percent," Dela Rosa said in a news conference last June 14.

He said that the PNP's strategy under his watch would be based on periodically setting target goals.

"Halimbawa, in 3 to 6 months kailangan 50 percent of the problem must be solved. Statistics ha. Tapos pagkatapos ng three months, 'yung another 50 percent kailangan maachieve namin," Dela Rosa said.

"Hindi namin makuha yan talaga yan 100 percent. Siguro kung mabagsak man kami maabot kami ng 60 percent lang o 70 percent," he added.

PNP data shows that more than 1,000 suspected drug users and pushers have been killed in police operations from July 1 to September 4.

Nearly 15,000 people have been arrested. — VVP, GMA News