MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday said she would seek help from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other advocacy groups to ensure that the public takes part in government's revamped campaign against illegal drugs.
The Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), which Robredo co-chairs, needs the CBCP's help to tap a strategic partnership among barangays, the Church and other faith-based organizations known as Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS), the vice president said.
UBAS was conceptualized by the vice president's late husband, former Interior Sec. Jesse Robredo.
"Mayroon akong meeting soon with the CBCP. Hihingiin ko iyong tulong nila para ma-activate iyong mga UBAS," Robredo told reporters in Camarines Sur.
(I have a meeting soon with the CBCP. I will ask for their help to activate the UBAS.)
"Iyong mga may active na UBAS, ang ganda ng anti-illegal drugs campaign nila. So tinitingnan namin na doon kami papasok," she said.
(Where there are active UBAS units, the anti-illegal drugs campaign is good. So we're looking at that as an entry point.)
She added that people should feel that they are part of the campaign.
The government will create a platform where private organizations can engage with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Vice President said.
"Ang tingin natin, this is a step in the right direction, kasi iyong mas organized na kampanya iyong hinahanap natin... iyong isang strategy lang ang sinusunod," she said.
(We think this is a step in the right direction, because we are looking for a more organized campaign... where there is a singular strategy followed.)
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo ICAD co-chair last week, after the vice president said that the government's war on drugs has been ineffective.
Robredo said she would steer the program into a campaign without "senseless killings," incidents of which has drawn the Duterte administration international criticism. Government has denied involvement in summary killings, saying those slain in drug raids had resisted arrest.
CBCP President Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles earlier urged the public to pray for Robredo as she embarked on her new role in the war on drugs.
Valles' remarks prompted Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro "Teddy" Locsin Jr. to call him a "moron."
"Say Thank You to the President you moron in a white Mu-Mu. Without him, she'd be stuck with her retarded retinue and ecclesiastical idiots like you," Locsin said in a tweet.
"How did you pass theology? You're a disgrace to what is supposed to be the world's most intellectual religion," he said.
Valles did not respond to Locsin's vitriol, but Caloocan Bishop Pablo David defended the CBCP president, saying the Davao archbishop passed theology "with flying colors."
The Church has been critical of the drug war, seeking justice for unlawful killings.