MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has sought to ban a song by young Filipino rapper Shanti Dope.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino released a statement on Thursday claiming that the lyrics of Shanti Dope’s new song, "Amatz," promotes the use of marijuana.

“It appears that the singer was referring to the high effect of marijuana, being in its natural/organic state and not altered by any chemical compound,” Aquino said in the statement.

Aquino also wrote a letter last May 20, addressed to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, and ABS-CBN, seeking to stop the promotion and airing of the song for its lyrics that go: "Lakas ng amats ko. Sobrang natural. Walang halong kemikal… Dati kataka-taka pa kung. Sa anong dahilan ka nila binabalik-balikan. Para saan ka pa ba nila pinagsusunugan ng salapi sa kada silid-gamitan. Makinang na bato. Mapadamuhang mabango."

Aquino said that while he respects and appreciate local music, the agency opposes the promotion of drug use through music.

“We strongly oppose the promotion of musical pieces or songs that encourage the recreational use of drugs like marijuana and shabu. It is contrary to our fight against illegal drugs," said the PDEA chief, who reportedly thought of banning the song after watching the rapper perform it on ABS-CBN's Sunday variety show "ASAP."

In a statement released to Philstar.com by Shanti Dope’s record label, Universal Records, it has been said that the song was produced by Shanti Dope’s long-time collaborator, Klumcee, featuring “what fans have come to love with the rapper-songwriter with an infectious hook and having lyrics close to his life, while also featuring a new Oriental flavor that will keep fans and new listeners wanting more.”

"The song Amatz’s message is about having a natural high - being one with nature, and an awareness about our environment in society, which is bombarded by synthetics and chemicals. We made a conscious effort to make it sound like a banger so that a lot of people would enjoy and feel the vibe and message behind the song,” Klumcee explained in the statement.

“Amatz” was released for streaming last March 22.

Reports alleged that Shanti Dope’s other songs, “Norem” and “T.H.,” have lyrics that criticize Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Philstar.com has tried to reach Shanti Dope's management for comment, but Universal Records' head and manager are currently in the US.

Shanti Dope, or Sean Patrick Ramos in real life, rose into fame with the release of his "Materyal" album in December 2017, which has brought over 40 million Spotify streams for his smash hit "Nadarang,” with its accompanying music video that has reaped over 26 million hits on YouTube.

Apart from OPM sensations IV of Spades, Shanti Dope has collaborated with international stars such as Krayzie Bone (of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) and Mimi on the track "Crazy.” He has also appeared on the track "Almost Love" with singer-songwriter Sabrina Carpenter.