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PIA Press Release

DDB Chairman Sotto brings fight vs illegal drugs to Cebu province

Quezon City (25 February) -- Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Vicente Sotto III led an inter-agency meeting in Cebu and discussed various issues concerning illegal drugs and how to further intensify the government's law enforcement, prosecution, prevention, and rehabilitation programs.

Sotto, together with Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco, met with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director Randy Pedroso, Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force head Supt. Marvin Sanchez, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Regional Director Medardo de Lemos, and Department of Justice (DOJ) Regional Chief State Prosecutor Ferdinand Gubalante.

Sotto announced the creation of the regional anti-illegal drugs inter-agency action group to be led by PDEA Region VII as the lead agency.

"In Cebu there will be an interagency or regional inter-agency task force that will bring a better situation as far as drug situation in the region is concern. There will be new approaches and strategies," Sotto said.

"With this inter-agency task force, law enforcement will become more efficient due to new strategies that will be applied and introduced," Sotto stressed.

The authorities are eying around 12 big time syndicates operating in the region which the inter-agency task force hopes to neutralize.

Sotto explained that solving the problem of illegal drugs and drug abuse does not only rely on enforcement and prosecution but also on prevention, rehabilitation, and aftercare.

Sotto said, "we need also to strengthen these aspects (rehabilitation and aftercare) in order to win the war against dangerous drugs and attain a drug-resistant country by 2010 and drug-free Philippines by 2015."

Sotto believes that rehabilitation would not be successful "if we do not have an aftercare program. The aftercare program will make sure that these drug dependents, after six or 18 months of rehabilitation, can be brought back to the community as productive members. The aftercare program will be included during the time of rehabilitation like teaching them various technical skills which they can use after the rehabilitation."

Cuenco thanked Sotto for leading the inter-agency meeting in his province and vowed to support all of DDB's programs. (DDB/PIA) [top]

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