Drugs ruin lives. Drugs breed criminals. Drugs make people steal, lie, cheat, bribe, and they turn away from their families and friends. Drugs make people lonely, crazy, selfish and it blurs their vision of reality. A menace, that is what it is.
I am with those who believe that fighting drugs should be prioritized.
But, drugs also employ ‘runners’, ‘agents’, ‘protectors’, and many other scumbags who make sure that supply will never be interrupted. It is a thriving, well-oiled industry backed up by ‘the wealthy and greedy’, ‘the wealthy and powerful’, and operated by ‘the needy and exploited’.
I am with those who believe that fighting drugs is not at all a walk in the park.
In his first state of the nation address to parliament, Mr. Duterte, dubbed ‘The Punisher’, ignored the outrage over the continuing death count, declaring that drugs were drowning his country’ and had to be stopped at all costs. ‘Double your efforts. Triple them if need be,’ Mr. Duterte told police. (Carney, J., et al, July 2016)
When the popular Punisher raised his fist to declare war against drugs, he said that he will not stop until all drug lords, financiers and pushers are jailed or even killed. And true to his word, the drug matrix was unveiled. Self-confessed big time drug lords have been exposed. Thousands of ‘alleged pushers’ have been busted, entrapped, and eventually killed. Corrupt protectors have been identified. In fairness, this government deserves a round of applause.
One brave attempt applauded and admired by many other bad-ass rulers around the world. Impressive.
But, this War on Drugs is gruesomely transforming this country to (officially) becoming, “The Killing Fields of Asia”, a title once coined by activist James Petras and human rights activist Robin Eastman-Abaya in their article written in 2006.
Sad, but true. No amount of explaining will justify the alarming increase in the number of extra judicial killings, it will never be okay! Thousands killed, hundreds orphaned – how can that be okay? Killings have become so rampant that hearing someone getting killed does not surprise anyone anymore.
I am with those who believe that not all killings were drug related. Honestly, I likewise do not believe that anti illegal drug vigilantes have multiplied. They are simply, cold-hearted paid murderers joining the parade. And why not? It has been very convenient to sentence their victims with a “Pusher Ako” placard. Hideous monsters.
This country’s War on Drugs has become a blanket alibi, sentencing people to death.
The government is fighting this War at all costs. But, please correct me if I am wrong – we are supposed to feel safer now, right? “Let them deal with the bad guys,” that is what a faithful, trusting, law-abiding citizen would probably say.
I am guessing that like many others, NO, that is not how I feel. With 3 teenage boys, I have never been more scared thinking about what happens in the streets until they are all home. I have seen gunmen flee seconds after shooting someone (apparently) at close range and NO, it is not easy to deal with that fragment of memory. It scared the s**t out of me. I have seen a mother in grief, after losing a 23 year old son last year after an apparent legitimate drug bust operation. I watch the news everyday and like many others, I am nearly paranoid and very scared. No, I definitely do not feel safer now.
But, I just continue to pray. Hopeful. I still believe that change will come. I still believe that War against Drugs is necessary. I still admire the Punisher’s passion and conviction in this so-called War. But, I hope and fervently pray that his government rightfully chooses who to faithfully protect – at all costs.
Carney, J., Margan, M., and Groom, N., (2016), Drug dealers shot dead on the streets of the Philippines as president dubbed ‘The Punisher’ continues his war on drugs, Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3708155/Philippines-President-Rodrigo-Duterte-s-war-illegal-drugs-killed-300-people.html
Petras, J., & Eastman-Abaya, R., (2006), Philippines: The Killing Fields of Asia, Z Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Asia/Philippines_KillingFields.html