For years, the campaign against illegal drugs has remained a top government priority. But along the campaign to eradicate this social menace is the inherent danger faced by drug law enforcement officers.

“Any anti-drug operation, whether buy-bust, interdiction, or implementation of search warrant, is high risk because the targets of these operations are armed and will fight back. In these operations, our operatives are exposed to high level of danger,” said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron N. Aquino.

Aquino pointed this out in view of the recent death of Agent Jack Roland Bastatas who died in an operation in Mindanao on September 2, 2019.

The susceptibility of PDEA agents to harmful attacks is always present in the conduct of supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction efforts to minimize, if not eliminate, the drug menace nationwide.

“Most of these high-value targets are often members of armed groups or are connected with powerful and influential individuals,” the PDEA chief said.

“Our drug law enforcement officers or agents are fully trained to conduct anti-drug operations. However, during these operations where there is a firefight, there is a chance that they will be wounded, or worse, killed,” Aquino pointed out.

He cited an instance in Lanao province in October 2018 where five PDEA agents were ambushed and killed, while one was fatally wounded after the conduct of a lecture.

Based on PDEA’s record since 2008, 19 PDEA agents died during anti-drug operations, with 12 in Mindanao.

The PDEA lauded the agents for their dedication, commitment in the performance of their duties and responsibilities despite the high risk they face every time they conduct anti-drug operations.

Aquino also pointed out that PDEA will continue wage the war against illegal drugs with utmost dedication.

“Kahit mahirap, kahit gaano kandelikado we will continue on with the fight until our last breath,” Aquino said.


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