Peace, fight against illegal drugs, government priorities in 2021

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In this file photo, twenty kilograms of shabu with an estimated market value of 136 million pesos were seized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in a buyout from Barangay Molino 4, Bacoor City, Cavite. PHOTO BY BOY JOSUE

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MAINTAINING the peace and combating illegal drugs were among the priorities of the Duterte administration this year.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that since 2016 the government has focused its guns on the Communist insurgency, mass crime and drug trafficking.

“Through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts and the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, among other anti-Communist insurgent initiatives, we are continuously addressing, thwarting and mitigating the impacts caused by communist armed groups. We have housed and reintegrated 20,579 rebels who surrendered from July 2016 to December 2021, ”Andanar said.

The modernization of the armed forces was also pushed forward – leading to the acquisition of 12 combat aircraft, three fixed air surveillance radars, eight Bell 412 combat helicopters, two C-130 aircraft, eight assault vehicles amphibious, two anti-submarine helicopters and two frigates capable of launching missiles. The military also purchased 16 S-70i Blackhawk helicopters, six Super Tucano planes, one unmanned aerial system (level 3), one C-295 medium transport aircraft, one G280 command and control aircraft, one class Corvette. Pohang, two AH-1 Cobra helicopters, three multi-purpose attack vehicles, 310 personnel carriers (light), 215 personnel carriers (medium) and various AFP engineering equipment were launched and completed under of the AFP modernization program of the Duterte administration.

Andanar said that it is only in this administration that the country has made significant progress towards securing long-term peace in Mindanao.

“Through the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, he created the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which replaced the poverty-stricken and conflict-stricken Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. This success was not only. a campaign promise, but a realization of the collective desire to seek national peace and stability for all Filipinos, ”he said.

The government also continued to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs.

From July 1, 2016 to October 31, 2021, Andanar said the government seized 73.83 billion pesos of drugs, controlled precursors, essential chemicals and laboratory equipment, dismantled 994 drug dens and labs, emptied 23,270 illegal drug villages, rescued 4,033 children involved in illegal drug activities, conducted 218,665 anti-drug operations, arrested 315,635 illegal drug criminals and arrested 13,821 high-value targets and 1,025 government officials involved in illegal drugs.

“The government’s anti-crime campaign helped the country’s crime index drop 67.76% from July 2016 to September 2021. This also covers the seizure of contraband goods, in which 83.083 billion pesos of illegal goods were collected, ”he said.

Independent politics

Examining the Philippines’ relations with other nations, Andanar said that “a strong and independent foreign policy is among the government’s key priorities, focusing on various areas such as national security, deep bilateral relations, development economic and securing the well-being of the millions of Filipino workers and migrants overseas in the world. “

“Independent foreign policy is anchored on the age-old principle of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference and commitment to peaceful settlements of disputes,” he said. “It is also anchored on a national security policy that places a balanced emphasis on the well-being and welfare of the Filipino people, at home and abroad, while protecting the interests of our country.”

Andanar noted that the country’s closer ties with China have helped create a more conducive environment for dealing with issues in the western Philippine Sea.

After 117 years, the Balangiga Bells were returned by the United States to the Philippines.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Andanar said the government has mobilized, through various initiatives and programs such as under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, resources and responses “that are timely, relevant and necessary.” to keep all Filipinos safe from contagion. “

As of December 16, 2021, 100,019,135 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered across the country.

“This is in addition to the many effective and efficient medical, economic and social responses we have provided as part of our collective fight and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Andanar said. “For this reason, we have been recognized by the Nikkei and have been ranked 57 out of 121 countries to effectively mitigate Covid-19. “

Next year, the Palace official said the government “will continue to prioritize key measures to further change the lives of all Filipinos for the better.”

He will lobby for the adoption and implementation of important legislation and initiatives, such as a unified system of separation, retirement and pensions for uniformed personnel; free legal assistance for police and soldiers; Foreign Investment Law, Civil Service Law, Retail and Trade Liberalization Law, Establishment of Overseas Filipino Ministry, Electronic Governance Law, Establishment of Philippine Control Center and disease prevention, creation of a Ministry of Disaster Resilience and a law authorizing evacuation centers in provinces, cities and compulsory municipalities, among others.

“These will contribute to the government’s growing response to bring about positive change and comfortable lives for all Filipinos, as he has promised,” Andanar said.

“The Duterte administration and the legacy it leaves will not only be remembered by Filipinos beyond this administration, but will serve as a catalyst for future initiatives of subsequent administrations for the betterment of the Philippines and the lives of the people of the Philippines. Filipinos, ”he added.

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