By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has dismissed Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chair Benjamin Reyes after giving drug-related numbers that contradict the government’s official figures.
The President said he has been telling everyone about the four million drug users in the country but Reyes claimed there was only 1.8 million addicts.
“I would like to put to task publicly this Reyes,” the President said upon arrival in Manila from his visit to Russia. “Here comes a chairman, you’re fired today get out of the service. You do not contradict your own government,” he said.
Duterte said Reyes is just a “civilian member” of the DDB and is “not the implementor of the law.” “The correct count is the police and the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency),” he said, referring to the estimated 4 million drug addicts.
Reyes, former assistant secretary and deputy executive director for operations, was named head of the DDB in August 2016.
The DDB recently said a 2015 survey showed there were 1.8 million drug users in the country. Reyes later appeared on television saying the number could go as high as 3 or 4 million.
He justified that the discrepancies were valid due to different bases. He said the only way to get an absolute figure was to conduct a consensus. “In the absence of which, estimates, like surveys and intelligence figures, are good enough baselines to set objectives,” he said in a report.