UN says the Philippines’ shabu abuse rate highest in East Asia

A LAWMAKER has called for a congressional probe into the report of the United Nations World Drug Report placing the Filipinos as leading shabu users in East Asia.

“This is a serious matter that we must face head on.  Even if the rating may not be that accurate, this matter must be looked into,” said Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), author of House Resolution 2331.

Castelo said the 2011 United Nations World Drug Report says that the Philippines is seen in the world map as having the highest rate of shabu abuse in East Asia with 2.1 percent of Filipinos aged 16 to 64 using the illegal drug.

Castelo also cited a report by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from January to October 2011 that police authorities seized 250 kilograms of shabu worth $68 million equivalent to P2.92 billion,
confiscated 818 kilograms of marijuana, 17,222 grams of cocaine, 960 tablets of Ecstacy worth $17.4 million, $2 million and $26,790, respectively.

The UN World Drug Report also stated that out of 9,850 drug operations, 8,491 suspects were arrested and 9,995 cases were filed in court, thus accounting for almost 30 percent of pending court cases in the National Capital Region alone as drug-related and therefore poses a major challenge in prosecution.

Castelo said the primary organizers and financiers of shabu trafficking are still Chinese organized crime groups and the West African Drug Syndicate (WADS) operating Northern Luzon and other Southeast Asian countries.

“It is high time for a multi-sectoral probe cum dialogue to run a so-called  SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats Analaysis) to better understand the seriousness of this drug trafficking problem and thereby prescribe new policy guidelines especially focused against organized international drug or crime syndicates operating in the country,” Castelo said.

“The growing sophistication in the operations of drug syndicates also dictates that the State counter their operations with even more vigorous and equally sophisticated means, backed up by appropriate policies and statutes,” Castelo said.

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