New PNP chief wants to shift drug war focus toward supply chain

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) — The new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) wants to continue the "war on drugs" — but this time, focusing on how the supply of illegal drugs is coming into the country.

During his Assumption of Office Ceremony on Wednesday, PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said it is important to identify the modes used in importing illegal drugs to "ensure that the supply chain entering our country will be reduced, if not cut completely."

"Hindi naman 'yon lalangoy eh, na darating na lang yung droga dito sa 'tin (The illegal drugs don't swim on their own). Definitely, by air and by sea," Azurin said in a press briefing after the ceremony.

Azurin claimed that most contrabands get in the country through sea travel "because our border control and security are very weak."

He expressed plans to partner with the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Customs, and other related agencies in the PNP's drug war under his administration.

'Hit what needs to be addressed'

Under the PNP's new strategy, Azurin said he also wants to address the continuous problem on illegal drugs through a holistic approach, focusing on barangay communities.

The country's top cop said police must cooperate with every community in the barangay and victims of illegal drugs must be provided with proper rehabilitation.

"I-engage natin directly yung mga drug users... Sa dami nang namatay, bakit may droga pa rin (We need to directly engage drug users... There have been too many deaths but why is there illegal drugs still)? Ibig sabihin (This means), we are not really hitting what needs to be addressed," Azurin stressed.

The administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte initially promised to end the drug problem in three to six months. The controversial drug war, however, failed to achieve its goal and resulted in thousands of deaths, with Duterte even admitting he was wrong.

READ: Duterte's War on Drugs: A controversial centerpiece of a President's legacy