VICE President Leni Robredo is correct. We will never make any substantial headway in the anti-drug campaign if the sources of illegal drugs are left unchecked, and even if our law enforcers will continue to make arrests or kill pushers every hour of everyday. We have to attack the drug problem at the source, which is the funding, manufacture, and distribution of illegal drugs.
Drug trafficking is an organized crime on a massive scale, and the problem has taken an international dimension. The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) identified the Philippines as a global shabu giant. Two years ago, President Duterte drewn China into his “shoot-to-kill” drug war with one simple question – an acknowledgement of this international dimension of the problem. He asked: “Why is it that most of the (Chinese) guys that come here do drugs, pati sa looban (ng kulungan)?” He also observed that “most of the unclaimed fatalities in the anti-drugs operations are Chinese.”
As early as 2009, the UNODC World Drug Report stated that the Philippines ranked fifth in the world in methamphetamine seizures from 1998 to 2007, next only to China and the United States, countries with much larger populations, and Asian neighbors Thailand and Taiwan. This report should have alarmed the government already and prodded it to act immediately. Apparently, the Arroyo and Aquino administrations did nothing substantial.
There’s no doubt that a more calibrated campaign is needed to solve the problem. The Philippines has become a hub for international drug syndicates. There were reports of “foreign investors” funding large-scale manufacture and operations of illegal drugs such as shabu. “Drug investments” in the country should be pinpointed. In this regard, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Customs and even the Bureau of Internal Revenue can be of tremendous help.
We will never truly eradicate the drug menace in the country unless we go straight to the source.