Press Release
May 25, 2021

Opening Statement
Hearing on HBN 7814
(Strengthening Drug Prevention and Control)

A pleasant morning to everyone!

Today we shall be discussing House Bill No. 7814, a measure that aims to strengthen the campaign against the proliferation of dangerous drugs by amending certain provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002".

We have witnessed more than 1.6 million Filipinos who surrendered in the government's war against illegal drugs since the start of the Duterte administration.[1] While this number may seem rather substantial, this all-out offensive action against drug abuse in any form will continue to do so as it is the State's duty to ensure the preservation of peace, and the maintenance of order in our society.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: World Drug Report 2020, there are 35.6 million people who suffered from drug use disorder. While the number of drug users are rising, drug markets are becoming increasingly complex. Plant-based substances have remained to be an option for drug users.

Recently, almost 140 pots of full-grown high-grade marijuana were seized at a condominium unit in Taguig,[2] a residential area which children and their families consider as their safe space, not knowing that a marijuana greenhouse is right next door to their homes. And also I would like to inform the body that yesterday, we conducted our hearing on the misencounter between PNP and PDEA along Commonwealth Road in Quezon City, and it was found out that the drug lords are already becoming very good in their trade, and that compounds the problem. That really compounds the problem.

We are no stranger to the immense lengths that these drug dealers and drug business entities are willing to pursue to further their demonic interests. Thus, we must continuously create improvements to our current legislations. We need to fight this problem on all fronts with the help of all relevant government agencies and every single local government unit - a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach.

Personally, I welcome any legislation that will further strengthen our anti-drug laws and policies. However, we should all be conscious of the fundamental principle in a democratic country like ours that policies and laws should conform with our supreme law of the land - the Constitution.

When House Bill No. 7814 was passed on third reading by the House of Representatives, many individuals and groups have expressed their opposition on the bill. They claimed that the new legal presumptions proposed in the House bill violate the provisions of the Constitution especially the Bill of Rights.

While there are several oppositions in this proposed measure, this Committee in the conduct of this hearing, will hear both sides of every argument in order to come up with a legislation that will enhance our laws against illegal drugs taking into consideration and giving utmost importance to the basic constitutional rights of every Filipino which the State ought to protect.

We look forward to the insights of our resource persons in this hearing. Thank you and good morning to everyone.

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