Undermanned, PDEA remains a potent force
CEBU CITY – It may be undermanned, but the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Visayas assured it is capable enough to join the war against illegal drugs.
“Our strength is more or less the strength of one police station. We need more (personnel) in order to address the problem of illegal drugs,” said PDEA Regional Officer-in-Charge Ana Lynn Nob.
Nob said her unit “accepts the challenge and the responsibility given to us by the President… PDEA will orchestrate all the efforts, with the assistance of the government agencies in this war. So this is not something illegal drug users and pushers should be happy about.”
The drug enforcement regional office has 95 workers. Forty-nine of whom are drug enforcement officers, with the rest being administration personnel and contractual employees.
It covers the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, and Negros Oriental.
Nob said its anti-drug operations may be affected by limited manpower and resources, but the unit “will ask the help of other government agencies, especially those under ICAD (Inter-Agency Committee for Anti-Drug Abuse).”
“Of course, we will also seek the assistance of local government units (LGUs) and our community,” she said.
ICAD has at least 20 membergroups, including the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Dangerous Drugs Board.
In a memorandum he signed on October 10, President Duterte directed the NBI, PNP, AFP, and all other agencies or “any and all ad hoc anti-drug task force to leave to the PDEA, as sole agency, the conduct of all campaigns and operations against all those who, directly or indirectly and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved in or connected with, illegal drugs.”
Doubts have been raised, however, on whether the PDEA regional office can perform effectively, considering it is short on manpower.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that while there are “a lot of good men” in the regional PDEA, they have very few personnel.
Ivy Meca, Cebu Provincial AntiDrug Abuse Office (CPADAO) Chief, also questioned the decision to let PDEA spearhead the war on drugs.
“We understand that their manpower is limited… in terms of operations like buy-busts, can they really operate considering that their agency is focusing on the entire Region 7?” Meca said.