CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The newly appointed head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Wilkins Villanueva said he will bring his “best practices” as a former regional anti-drug czar for a “stronger, massive approach” on the campaign against illegal drugs.

The former regional director of PDEA in Region 10 said he will lose no time in implementing his plans given President Duterte’s term ends in 2022.

“PDEA will never lose its sight even if our time is limited and the pandemic is still there. We will see to it that our goal is achieved,” Villanueva said.

As the new director-general of PDEA, Villanueva said his first order of business is to revise the agency’s operational protocol that will adapt to the “new normal” caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We will adjust on how to safely conduct our anti-drug operations, starting with target setting, casing and surveillance, buy-bust, and serving of search warrant,” he said.

Villanueva said the observance of social distancing has already been practiced in his area of responsibility, especially in Cagayan de Oro.

The new director said he will also push for the passage of the Magna Carta for PDEA employees in Congress, saying the agency has been existence for 18 years yet operatives have no budget when it comes to operatives risking their lives in their duty.

Villanueva is noted for bringing the Barangay Drug Clearing Program as the main strategy of the President’s “war on drugs”.

Villanueva started his career in law enforcement as a junior officer of the Philippine Constabulary’s 10th Regional Special Action Force, after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” class of 1988.

From there, he became assistant director for comptrollership of the Aviation Security Command, company commander of the 11th Regional Mobile Force’s 1st Company, and commander of the Task Group Monkayo.

He was appointed as team leader of the Explosive Ordnance and Demolition Team in region 11, and later as chief intelligence of the national anti-kidnapping task force Mindanao area which evolved into the police anti-crime and emergency response (Pacer).

He was assigned as the regional officer of the 11th Regional Narcotics Group, then as regional director of PDEA in regions 11 and NCR.

Villanueva was also appointed as director of PDEA preventive education and community involvement service and later became its superintendent.

He finished his Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the Ateneo de Davao University, Program for Development Managers at Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and is presently taking his Doctorate Degree in Forensic Criminology.(

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