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No budget yet for Duterte's war vs drugs.

How much public money is the Duterte administration spending in 2017 for its extended war on illegal drugs?

President Duterte could not give a final figure on Tuesday when he inspected a laboratory capable of producing 400 kilograms of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) which was concealed in a hog farm at the foothills of Mt. Arayat in Pampanga.

'I submitted an executive budget. It's been revised. I really don't know the total amount. They keep on changing the budget because the number of drug users who surrendered was at first 700,000, then it kept on growing to 40,000 60,000. There is a different figure everyday,' Mr. Duterte said.

He said Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial have to make corrections of the budgets they submitted to support more people who surrender.

But he said he was sure about a P1-billion allocation next year to buy sidearms for 'each and every soldier' who would be deputized for the war on drugs. He described the proliferation of drugs as a national security threat.

Mr. Duterte originally set a self-imposed deadline of six months to end the drug problem but he said he had asked for a six-month extension or until June 2017.

'Next year, [the budget] will include the expenditures for the infrastructure needed to fight illegal drugs,' he said.

According to him, the budget prepared by the Aquino administration does not support capital outlay for rehabilitation centers for drug dependents.

'If you think we have sufficient money, we will not put it into our pockets. We will spend it. I will not allow anybody to misappropriate money, now especially [when drug users and pushers are surrendering] by the thousands,' he said.

He said former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III were not aware of the extent of the drug problem. 'Ako, inipit ko lahat, ayan lumabas (I pressured them (drug dependents) into surrendering),' Mr. Duterte said.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 29, 2016
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