Manila faces show cause order for poor anti-drug council performance

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will issue a show cause order to the city of Manila for failing to sufficiently reach the standards of a well-functioning anti-drug abuse council (ADAC).

In a press briefing on Monday, December 16, DILG Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri revealed the scores of local government units in Metro Manila with regard to the functionality of their respective ADACs. He pointed out that only the city of Manila acquired a low score. 

Every local government unit is required to create and operationalize its ADAC, which is a multi-sectoral council tasked to plan, implement, and monitor local anti-drug abuse programs, projects, and activities.

In the Duterte administration's campaign against drugs, ADACs maintain the list of drug dependents for screening, monitor surrenders of drug users and dependents, and implement community-based rehabilitation, among others.

Local anti-drug abuse councils have faced controversies in the past. Quezon City residents earlier filed a petition to stop barangay anti-drug abuse council or BADAC officials from conducting house-to-house drug testing, while human rights lawyers sought to stop the practice of keeping a list of drug-linked residents.

Now, ADACs are scored according to the following indicators, each with corresponding points:

An ADAC is considered low functioning if it acquires a score ranging from 0 to 50. The city of Manila acquired a score of 46.

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Meanwhile, 13 local government units in the National Capital Region received a high score, two received a moderate high score, and one received a moderate low score. 

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According to Echiverri, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will be issued a show cause order asking him to explain the low rating and outline his plans to improve the functionality of the city's ADACs in 2020.

But Echiverri noted that the drug affectation in Manila has decreased. He added that Moreno was not to blame for the low functionality of Manila's ADAC, since he was only elected in 2019. Echiverri then said that it could be "accounted" to former Manila mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada.

Still, Echiverri said, Moreno has to answer for the poor performance of Manila even though he may not be entirely accountable. "Manila has to improve, [because] it has been very poor ever since," Echiverri said. 

In March, the DILG filed cases against 45 mayors for not establishing ADACs. – Rappler.com

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.

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