The Philippines' War Against Illegal Drugs

The Current Scenario
The daily news reports bear the voluntary submission of drug-related offenders be it in the Metro Manila or in the farthest Barangay in the provinces. Recent Killings  involving Drug Trafficking has alarmed human rights advocates.  There are those who are entrapped BUT has exchanged bullets with the police operatives and still others are gunned-down by vigilantes riding in-tandem (who are believed to be liquidated by their syndicate association). I am one of the self-confessed followers of the President and his ‘Change is Coming’ crusade – that includes fighting corruption, criminality as well as on illegal-drugs.

We need each other’s help to accommodate the thousands of surrendering drug personalities around the country.  It is not imaginable that the ‘drug menace’ is this WORST already – almost a hundred thirty thousand individuals has surrendered No wonder why heinous crime perpetrators had become the usual cover of daily newspapers. Together we can help make this CHANGE come true.  It would not be that easy especially considering the means these former pushers find a way of living after drugs. But I believe in lessening criminality, more investors will come (plus the traffic solution may have a riffling effect too) to us.

The Duterte Administration’s Conviction
The President has warned the public of his intensive and massive campaign on the use and trafficking of illegal drugs.  He has admonished everyone to surrender themselves to the authorities before getting killed (in case they resist and fight) on a buy-bust operation etc. 

President Duterte likewise warned the law enforcers should observe legalities and the existing Laws on dealing with the apprehension of the offenders.  However, crooked policemen might take advantage of the self-defense alibi, IF ever they wanted to silence an accomplice or even cohorts for the drug-recycling trade PNP Chief Ronaldo dela Rosa has mentioned on his assumption speech.  He revealed the style of the unscrupulous policemen re-selling drugs confiscated from raids done by their department which he tagged as ninja cops.  This DOES NOT NECESSARILY generalize all policemen BUT few exist in reality. 

The CHANGE is Coming
 ‘Change is Coming…’ but again, it must be EVERYBODY’S effort.  Let us challenge private individuals, Foundations, Non-government Agencis (NGOs) to help us realize the immediate need for the construction of Rehab facilities. The government is very much willing to give chances to the users and pushers as long as they will join the government’s aim to eradicate illegal drug’s existence. Ordinary citizens like me can stimulate awareness for the concerned sectors through social media and blogging platforms.

Let us welcome the idea from the Department of Health – that an ISLAND shall be considered as the reformatory home of these drug addicts and pushers so as to curtail their freedom of communication – so that drug syndicates can not reach them and bother their change of course.  This is for their safety too.  The killings of drug men, it is not possible that their former ‘black trade’ comrades would pay to assassinate them afraid of being tracked if they are in an island. They can be given access to video calling just in front of police officers scheduled to accommodate all prisoner’s personal calls from relatives and loved ones. Island owners can be a donor for the mission.

Behind the News Stories
The pitiful drug traffickers who were just forced to this kind of job by poverty and illiteracy (lack of formal education that could somehow employ them to a decent job) who had mistakenly associated themselves to corrupt policemen or politicians had become an INEVITABLE target of two manhunt operations – the government and those dishonest cops/syndicates.  I suppose that it is maybe the reason why some of the users and traffickers think twice of submitting themselves to the authorities, afraid that they will not be given a chance and be executed before they could expose their cohorts.  As I see on tv, there are thousands who voluntarily gave-in to the President’s appeal and has been promised to be helped-out.

Rehabilitation and Renewal Programs
But since the government is not that READY to accommodate all of them in Drug Rehab facilities – after assessment of the drug addicts’ stage of drug-dependence and addiction, NOT all of them should go to the rehab.  Or they could also be kept in a guarded facility for their life’s protection. If I may suggest to General dela Rosa – the individuals who wanted to confess and point authorities involved shall be given WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM as long as their ‘boss’ is at large, because they MIGHT possibly be executed as soon as they are released finishing the ‘oath-taking on excluding themselves on drug activities’- their lives are at stake, indeed!

Before we go to the rigorous training of the caught individuals they must have an appointment with a Guidance Counselor to balance their self-esteem and instill in them the value of hard-earned money as well as dignity and legacy to their children and family. We can not deny their getting accustomed to easy-money and they need to adjust intellectually and emotionally. 

Recently billion worth of drugs confiscated were burned down – PDEA, laboratory personnel and PAO Chief Atty. Precida Acosta has witnessed it.  The drugs are all tested first (if real drugs and not switched or altered) before putting in the incineration machine.  That is very clever!  We are VERY SURE that what has been burned are REAL DRUGS and that they had not been sent back to the society by those ninja cops.

- Public Announcement accepting Donations from Foundations around the world in building high-end Drug Rehab facilities.  Attention to SM Foundation/Kapuso Foundation etc.

- the Government should declare searching for DONORS for the urgent rehab erection:

a. Construction Companies can donate labor force. Even just a day of ‘Bayanihan’ from different companies would mean a lot.

b. Manufacturers - of building materials can also give in-kind donations of cement, hollow blocks, aggregates, steel rods etc.

c. Foundations  for a good cause can also give CASH donations.

d. Individuals who own lands/lots/building structures (subject for immediate renovation) can donate or sell their properties to the government for the location of drug facilities.

(Budget only, no direct control of the facility to avoid any forms of abusive control or corruption.  Must sign a no-strings attached agreement. 

The gratitude to the donors– donor’s name or Foundation Logo shall be embossed in the building or be written in the Profile/History of the Rehab Facility.

To CUT on Professional Fees:
- Encourage VOLUNTEER visiting doctors and health workers (as well as interns) that are partners for change.  No salaries. Their names and photos shall be posted in a mini museum of the Rehab.

-Accept on-the-job-trainees (OJTs) from different universities in healthcare and supervision assistance.

Work/Jobs  for Traffickers/Pushers:
should give FREE seminars and skills training – getting a livelihood for them is a MUST so they would not come back to the old ways left without a choice.

Factory Workers
- discuss the biggest consumables the government is using daily (like papers ballpens etc.) on the National level be manufactured by a government-owned factory (to cut on cost and give jobs) to be manned by supervisors and previous drug traffickers.

-Mandatory and random drug testing shall be implemented for assurance.  A worker proved to be NO SINCERE commitment to change shall be terminated and jailed. That is because he wasted the chance given.

- seminars and state-of-the-art (not OBSOLETE) technical education on farming/poultry

Maintenance Positions on Government Agencies/Streets
Janitorial jobs/Street Sweepers/MMDA Gardeners-plant keepers/River Cleaners/Road painters/construction workers/Polluted Rivers Cleaners/Park gardeners

‘Products of Change
Government Invitation for Inventors and businessmen for suggested products the government can run manufacturing with grounds on lower material cost (from indigenous or recyclable materials) that will surely be marketable and exportable. These items can be labeled as ‘products made by people who wanted to renew their lives after drug addiction and the like’ – I do not think that the world market can resist the product.

Availability of Loans or Grants for a Micro-Business Start-up:
The Investment should be supervised by government personnel to ensure proper expenditure. Loan payments and amortization shall be made after a year so that the borrower can freely maximize earnings and business potential. Budget can be generated from the following Sources:

- Foundations
Donations from Humanitarian Foundations worldwide shall be accepted.

- Sin Taxes
From liquors, cigarettes and luxury items.

- An account should be open named ‘New Philippines’
to accept donations from private sectors and individuals. Even a single peso could mean so much if every Filipino can contribute. Just the 16M people who voted Duterte  meant PhP 16 M cash to fund a particular rehabilitation project.

-  Bank accounts of fictitious individuals should be sequestered by the government like the Jose Pidal account and the Swiss accounts of the Marcos family.

-The auction of Imelda’s jewelries to the public worldwide can help a lot too.

I am optimistic that these humble suggestions can reach the DESK OF OUR DEAR PRESIDENT so that each of us can be PART of the our long-awaited CHANGE.               

Please re-share this article on your favorite social sites like here in G+, FB, Twitter  etc. Let us be part of the CHANGE PUZZLE the government is trying to solve.

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Family, Daily Living & Style by Angelita Galiza-Madera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.