Due to guile government officials who have already mastered the art of crooked governance, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) held an Inter-Agency Meeting on June 11, 2019 at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila to strategically alleviate the entry of smuggled, illegal drugs in the Philippines through corruption.

Representatives from various government agencies, namely: the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the Directorate for Intelligence (DI), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Food and Drug Administration, under the Department of Health (FDA-DOH), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) were summoned by the PACC to help strategize in addressing the said problem.

Halfway through President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term as President, crooked government officials are still as brazen as ever in the pursuit of evil. That being said, PACC Chairman Dante La. Jimenez could not help but ask: “Bakit hindi matapos-tapos, hindi maubos-ubos ang source ng illegal drugs and other forms of contrabands in our country?”

In response, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said that the war on drugs is actually a global problem that even countries more developed than the Philippines—having more resources and rigid laws, also have the same dilemma. DG Aquino also expressed his frustration on “narco-politicians” who profit from the proliferation of illegal drugs through corruption, multi-millionaire customs brokers who aid in the entry and exit of illegal drugs in the country, the dismissal of several drug cases due to corrupt judges and prosecutors in the judiciary, and intentional violations in the chain of custody done by corrupt PNP Officers and PDEA Agents. Hence, high levels of corruption in various government bureaus are still very much active and present. This being the case, continuous collaborations and strengthened partnerships with other jurisdictions, along with a collaborative effort between PDEA and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is necessary to successfully hold liable such unscrupulous government workers, and help mitigate the drug problem in the Philippines.

In addition, PACC Executive Director Attorney Eduardo V. Bringas suggested that a manifesto of support among all agency officials would intensify PACC’s efforts against corruption which is one of the reasons for the proliferation of illegal drugs. The manifesto should provide, among others, an anti-corruption network, requiring compliance with the requirements of the Anti-Red Tape Law to enhance efficiency in the delivery of public service, and an undertaking to voluntarily resign from their position should they fail to comply with their sworn oath of duty.

With three years left on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term, it shall take a whole of government and a whole of nation approach to win the ongoing war against drugs and corruption. This being said, the PACC stays hopeful in its fight against corruption, as it continues to inspire the nation by simply modeling the Highest Example of Leadership for the People (HELP), the Philippines, and God… Let us all give our HELP.

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