Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Tuesday that his proposed new agency, which would replace both the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), would ensure better coordination among officials involved in the fight against the drugs problem.
In an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Sotto pointed out that the DDB, having board members from different government departments, made coordination difficult.
At present, DDB’s board members were secretaries from different departments, such as the Department of Education which was in charge of prevention, the Department of Health which handled rehabilitation, the Department of Justice which dealt with prosecution, and the PDEA which handled enforcement, the Senate president explained.
In the proposed Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority (PRDEA), a Cabinet secretary would head the agency. This secretary, in turn, would be able to appoint the officials to head its bureaus.
“Ang suggestion, ilagay lahat sila sa isa… Yung mga bureau ng Enforcement , Prosecution, Prevention at Rehabilitation, yun na yung board, kung sino yung aa-appoint ng PRDEA,” Sotto said.
"Sinong in-charge sa prevention? DepEd. Anong kinalaman ng DepEd sa PDEA ? Coordinated ba sila? Hindi. Kailangan ba ng drug abuse assistance education program nationwide?” he argued further.
Sotto clarified that PDEA and DBB agents and officials, most of whom opposed the creation of the PRDEA arguing that the transition would compromise the progress made in the anti-illegal drugs campaign, would be absorbed in the new agency.
“Walang mawawalan ng trabaho sa panukalang bumuo ng PRDEA,” Sotoo clarified. — Joviland Rita/DVM, GMA News