New protocols in anti-drug war to be implemented: new PDEA chief
New protocols will be implemented in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) anti-illegal drug operations under the “new normal” situation of the country due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Wilkins Villanueva, appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday night as the new PDEA chief, said the ''new normal'' will be a challenge.
“We will have a new protocol on how to conduct the anti-drug operations… We will formulate it but I’m already formulating… the main consideration is the life of our agents,” Villanueva said in a radio interview.
The former Northern Mindanao PDEA regional director said they will check their target identification if they are located in areas with COVID-19 infection as they cannot conduct buy-bust operations while wearing personal protective equipment (PPEs).
“First on target identification, we will go on targets located on areas with no COVID-19 infections,” Villanueva said.
“Priority is the life of our people… we are only few, so we need to protect our lives,” he added,
Villanueva said PDEA has only around 2,000 agents nationwide.
To observe social distancing and other health protocols, Villanueva said they will conduct training among their personnel.
He said he talked to former Director General Aaron Aquino to seek guidance must be implemented so it will align with his plans and programs.
Asked for his message to drug suspects, Villanueva urged them to stop during the pandemic and focus on giving the government relief to their families.
“You better change or else, once I arrive there (in Manila), wear my uniform and (do) tactical (operations), then you will all be in danger,” he said.
In his statement last night, Villanueva said he achieved what he is aiming for in his almost two decades job as public servant.
“My utmost gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for giving me his trust and confidence to lead our country's war on drugs. I will never fail you Mr. President!,” he said.
Villanueva is the seventh director general of PDEA.
Aquino also thanked Duterte for his trust and confidence.
“I sincerely thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his trust and confidence and for giving me the opportunity to serve our people and his administration,” he said.
“I also thank the men and women of PDEA for their support to my leadership and dedication to the agency,” he added.
Aquino was appointed as member of the board of directors of the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC). Ella Dionisio/DMS