Santiago quits as DDB chair

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Resigned DDB chairman Dionisio Santiago (image from Santiago's Twitter account)

MANILA, Philippines — Dionisio Santiago has resigned as chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board, News5’s Dindo Flora reported in a tweet.

President Rodrigo Duterte named Santiago to chair the DDB in July after he fired Benjamin Reyes for saying there are 1.8 million drug users in the country, way below his claimed figure of 4 million addicts.

News reports said Duterte ordered Santiago to hand in his resignation over his criticism of a project Duterte has often boasted about, the “mega drug rehabilitation center” in Nueva Ecijat that was built with assistance from Chinese billionaire Huang Rulun, who has been placed under investigation for alleged corruption.

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Santiago, a former director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency,has said he believes community-based rehabilitation programs are more effective.

He had also taken to contradicting Duterte’s assumptions on the conduct of the war on drugs, saying the problem should be approached also as a health and not just a purely crime problem.

Since Duterte assumed office, the war on drugs is believed to have claimed upwards of 13,000 lives.