Marcos: New drug war to focus on prevention, rehab; policy-crafting underway

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13)— President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said his administration's war on drugs will focus more on prevention, noting that a working group is already formulating policies for the campaign.

"We're looking more for, in the upstream of the problem, the prevention. Turuan natin 'yung mga bata (Let's educate the younger ones)," Marcos said in a sit-down interview with Toni Gonzaga.

"And those who are already involved or naadik na (already addicted), we should treat them," he added. "Right now, we're trying to formulate what is the latest, what's the best way for the rehabilitation. These are all being formulated."

As early as the campaign period, Marcos had vowed to continue the Duterte administration's flagship drug war, but in a "different way." The Philippine National Police also previously said that officials will focus on the supply chain — making sure the entry of the illegal products will be cut and reduced.

Meanwhile, the President also defended his decision for the Philippines not to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying there's no reason to do so.

"Maybe if the whole system collapses… Kung magka-gyera tayo dito, walang judiciary, walang gobyerno na talagang gumagana, walang pulis. Then 'yun, kailangan natin sila," Marcos argued.

[Translation: Maybe if the whole system collapses… If there will be war, no judiciary, no working government, no police. Then, we will need them.]

"The alleged crimes were all committed by Filipinos. Why will we need a foreigner to tell us how to deal with it? I don't think we do, I don't think we need."

Latest government data showed over 6,000 have died in the anti-drug campaign launched by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. Local and international human rights groups, however, believe the death toll is much higher.

READ: PH asks ICC chamber to deny drug war probe request