Law enforcers to get rewards for successful anti-drug operations

MANILA, Philippines – Law enforcers involved in anti-illegal drug operations can get cash rewards under a newly-approved regulation of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

In its meeting on Wednesday, August 3, DDB board members approved the guidelines in the implementation of Operation Lawmen, a program of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that seeks to provide incentives to law enforcers or members of teams involved in the seizure of illegal drugs.

This is the first time that law enforcers will be eligible for incentives, as the scope of PDEA's Operation Private Eye reward system was limited only to informants.

DDB chairman Felipe Rojas Jr said the incentives will encourage law enforcement agencies to intensify operations against illegal drugs, in accordance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Duterte's drug war in numbers)

Under the board regulation, the amount offered to law enforcers will be determined based on the quantity of illegal drugs seized, but should not exceed P2 million per operation.

For instance, the confiscation of less than 200 grams of shabu, cocaine, heroin, and ketamine will be worth a minimum of P1,000 plus P100/g in excess of 1 g.

For 200 kg or more, the amount can reach as high as P1.395 million plus P1,500/kg in excess of 200 kg.

Meanwhile, the minimum reward amount for the confiscation of ecstasy tablets and other designer drugs will be worth P100 per tablet for quantities of 13 to 266 tablets.

The PDEA and other agencies involved in anti-drug operations will establish and operate their own committees to determine and grant the award of monetary and non-monetary incentives.

The budget will be drawn from the operation and intelligence funds of the agencies involved.

To qualify for the cash reward, law enforcers must be involved in a successful seizure of illegal drugs, the dismantling of drug laboratories and chemical houses, or the arrest of high-value targets and drug personalities.

The incentives will be awarded only after criminal charges have been filed and raffled off in court.

While expressing confidence that the reward system would boost law enforcers' morale and efficiency in their work, Rojas downplayed concerns that the system could be prone to abuse.

"We have to institute guidelines on how the system would not be abused. We don't want our law enforcers and other government agencies to be mercenaries or working for money, but just an assistance to them to counter the temptation of being bribed or [recycle] illegal drugs," Rojas said.

"We trust our law enforcers to really stick to the guidelines in the handling of illegal drugs," he added.

Rojas said the regulation is set to be signed by board members and may be effective in a week's time. – Rappler.com