The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expressed its commitment to continue supporting the government’s goal of a drug-cleared Philippines, as it underscored that the country will have a better economy and productive labor force if the illegal drugs problem is eradicated.
DTI-Davao del Norte provincial director Romeo Castanaga said the drug menace, which poses a threat not just to the country’s security but also to the economy and the labor force, will be solved through actively participating in the “whole-of-nation and whole-of-government approach.”
“It is threat to human capital, so it is not only a threat to business but also to our productive capacity,” Castanga said during an open forum of the first National Anti-Drugs Summit held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao on Sunday.
If the drug menace is eradicated, Castanaga said the country would have more productive members of labor force that would even expand to create more medium and small enterprises, which can drive the country’s economic growth.
He said the country would even attract more investors with its peaceful and secure environment.
DTI alone, he said, has already helped a huge number of drug reformists engage in small businesses.
Castanaga said since DTI launched its “Aid Campaign,” it has already enlisted drug reformists to engage in one of its programs, the Negosyo Centers, which served close to 600,000 clients to include drug reformists.
He said there are already 1,049 Negosyo Centers set up by DTI across the country.
Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ramon Cualoping, program director of Rehabinasyon, said the whole-of-nation approach is an investment of the future that involves all stakeholders not only law enforcement.
“Law enforcement (on the drug war) is only the first step,” he said, adding that “Rehabinasyon will show the world the government also offers rehabilitation reintegration.”
Cualoping said the Duterte administration’s campaign includes rehabilitation and reformation of drug reformists, it needs involvement of other support agencies like DTI.
“President Rodrigo Duterte has been leading a hard yet a necessary stance against illegal drugs,” he added. “The campaign is not rosy. It is constantly receiving criticisms. It is a thorny issue against this administration.”
Culaoping expressed optimism that the government will achieve a drug-free Philippines with the cooperation of all agencies and stakeholders.