PEOPLE POWWOW | ‘Kill, kill, kill’ is the ‘solution’ worse than the problem

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017


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WHILE campaigning for the May 2016 presidential election, then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte vowed to eliminate crime by eliminating criminals: “If by chance God will place me there [Malacañang Palace], watch out because the 1,000 will become 100,000. You will see the fish in Manila Bay getting fat.” The lower figure, incidentally, refers to “criminals” killed in Davao City.

In the first year of the Duterte presidency, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP), more than 7,000 men and women have succumbed to his “war on drugs.” As admitted by Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, some 2,500 of those victims were illegal drug pushers and users who had “resisted arrest and fought police officers.”

We can only hope President Duterte was joking when he said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”  (History books say “six million Jews.”)

If there are indeed three million drug addicts in the Philippines as “seconded” by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), then as many persons would have to be either rehabilitated or “massacred” in the next five years of Duterte’s term of office.

If “killing three million” were the President’s solution, his fanatics in the social media might finally realize it’s a crime worse than the problem it is supposed to solve.

Anyway, let us agree that there could be no illegal drug pushers where there are no users. Hence, the eventual solution to drug dependence lies in users quitting the vice.  If only every drug addict could be motivated to quit or be cured, then he would not have to be “terminated.” But it’s easier said than done. There are substances in shabu, cocaine or any other stimulant that really “hook” hard.

Victims would do anything – even rob, steal or kill – to keep themselves “high.” The only way to stop them is to deprive them of the drug, which is next to impossible where there is supply. There is so much money flowing from the illegal drug trade that drug lords and their pushers could not resist gambling their lives for it.

The tokhang or crackdown on pushers and users has somehow induced artificial scarcity, which is ironically good for the really big drug dealers. From what I read in the papers, the price of premium shabu has upped from P1,300 to P25,000 per gram.

Thus it puzzles us that the President’s war on drugs remains focused on users and small-time drug dealers whose “elimination” would hardly matter. Why not corner the big ones who control the supply source?

Has the President forgotten that, early in July 2016, he visited a military camp where he told the soldiers and police, “Where is the big fish [in illegal drugs]? If you want them, go to China. Look for them there.”

Duterte has gone to China but has not looked for them there despite his meetings with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

To reiterate what I previously wrote, the biggest drug suppliers in the Philippines belong to the so-called “China Triad” whose presence the Philippines blew off in September 1992 yet when 20 kilos of shabu wrapped in an air parcel package surfaced at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  It was addressed to a recipient named Mary “Rosebud” Ong, who eventually “sang” before the Senate the “protection” that the Chinese drug syndicates were getting from “PNP generals.” Alas, no case has been filed against those men in uniform.

Well, it sounds familiar in today’s setting. ([email protected] /PN)







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