- Vice President Leni Robredo met with UN representatives and anti-drug advocates, almost a week after she accepted to lead the country’s anti-drug campaign
- Robredo said that concrete proposals are set to be made with the multi-sectoral project dubbed as CoBRA or the Community-based Drug Rehab Alliance in the country.
- Robredo is taking on a Cabinet rank for the second time despite being at odds with President Rodrigo Duterte on many issues.
MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni”Robredo on Monday met with United Nations representatives and anti-drug groups in collaboration of a multi-sectoral project in line with her aim of rebranding the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.
Earlier in the morning, Robredo’s camp bared that she met with officials of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
According to Usec. Boyet Dy of the Office of the Vice President, the discussion included exemplary practices of Southeast Asian countries which could help the Philippines’ have a better approach in dealing with its drug problem.
The meeting came a few hours ahead of Robredo’s briefing with the core members of the Community-Based Drug Rehab Alliance (CoBRA).
CoBRA is a group that was formed in 2017 composed of public groups, civil society groups, and faith-based organizations, which would allow all concerned representations “to be part of the conversation” and come up with people-centered, humane and evidence-based solutions to the campaign. The Office of the Vice President is a member of the core group.
Those who attended the afternoon briefing were Jess Lorenzo of SEAOIL Foundation, Atty. Bok Labastilla of the Caloocan Anti-Drug Abuse Council, Vanna Gonzales of the Lost Sheep Initiative, and Amy Hernandez of Kaya Natin Movement.
The Vice President, who was recently appointed as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), said that the group aims to have a set of concrete proposals, including community-based approaches that will address the government problems by partnering up with government agencies.
“This group really pushes for a more public health-based manner of solving the demand side of the problem,” Robredo said.
“Because if the government is doing something, the private sector is also doing something but it barely has any linkage in the campaign except with local government units,” the Vice President said.
Other members of CoBRA are religious groups such as Caritas Manila; the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Cebu; Diocese of Legazpi, San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Novaliches, Caloocan, Malolos Bulacan; nonprofit groups Narcotics Anonymous, Sobriety Foundation, Dilaab Foundation, and public groups such as the Caloocan Anti-drug Abuse Council, Philippine National Police-Community Relations, the Office of the San Juan Vice Mayor, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Department of Health, and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Robredo previously expressed optimism in leading the ICAD along with PDEA chief Aaron Aquino despite comments from critics and even warnings from her allies from the opposition that she might only be set up for the supposed failure of the drug war.
She held her first ICAD meeting with Aquino last Friday, with an aim of getting to the truth behind the conflicting numbers on the death toll and the inclusion of more anti-drug advocates in the campaign.
This was the second time that Robredo was offered a Cabinet post despite being at odds with President Rodrigo Duterte on many issues. She previously led the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council from July to December 2016 but resigned after Duterte ordered her to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.”