Xhiela Mie Cruz

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. announced on Monday a “new face” for the anti-illegal drugs campaign, which will mainly focus on community-based treatment, rehabilitation, education, and reintegration.

Photo Courtesy of Raffy Lerma/Philippine Daily Inquirer/AFP/Jezler Garcesa

In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), on July 24, Marcos said that the previous administration's war on drugs had been "a failure," and that it was time for a new approach.

"The campaign against illegal drugs continues — but it has taken a new face," the President said. He added that "it is now geared towards community-based treatment, rehabilitation, education, and reintegration to curb drug dependence among our affected citizenry.”

Marcos mentioned that the government would establish more Balay Silangan Reformation Centers, which would provide drug addicts with treatment and rehabilitation services. He also said that the government would be expanding its education and awareness programs about the dangers of illegal drugs.

The President’s announcement was met with mixed reactions — some people praised him for his focus on treatment and rehabilitation, while others criticized him for not doing enough to crack down on drug trafficking.

However, his announcement is a significant shift in the government's approach to the drug problem.

Having known that the previous administration's war on drugs was characterized by extrajudicial killings and human rights violations, Marcos' new approach, on the other hand, is focused on treating and rehabilitating drug addicts, and on preventing people from using drugs in the first place.

Marcos has said that he wants to take a more humane approach to the drug problem and that he wants to focus on prevention and rehabilitation, rather than on enforcement.

Edited by Lorraine Angel Indaya