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Drug war should change tack

President Duterte himself admitted albeit with much reluctance that the country’s
drug problem is getting worse three years after his administration launched the bloody war
on drugs.
The admission now demands a rethinking of the bloody strategy that has not made a
dent in the country’s illegal drug trade.
While many laud the president for his relentless fight in obliterating this social
menace his admitted failure suggests the strategy is gravely wrong. He should not insist in
pursuing this war availing of the same strategy that has been proved inadequate.
Fear as a strategy will only work for a certain period of time. Never will it work
forever. Shock and awe can be availed of but only for a short period. Sooner or later the
sting of such strategy wanes.
Experts have been telling the administration that killings will never solve the
country’s drug problem. Sadly, reality tells us that indeed this is true. Despite the more than
25,000 deaths of drug suspects the problem, as admitted by the president, is getting worse.
Surely it’ll get worse because the root cause of the drug problem has not been truly
grappled with by the effort itself to eradicate it.
The illegal drug problem, generally speaking, is the result of hopelessness. We should
realize that hopelessness is not just the problem of the poor but the moneyed as well hence
we have drug abusers from all walks of life.
When people, young and adults, resort to drug abuse something other than curiosity
must have triggered it. More often than not that trigger is hopelessness. Hopelessness about
the future, hopelessness about life itself, hopelessness due to poverty, hopelessness due to
being unwanted, unloved and lack of attention and recognition-seeking, among others.
Drug abuse is therefore a mere symptom of a larger problem. Unless this larger
problem is amply addressed no matter how much you kill these drug suspects, new abusers
will surface.
The illegal drug trade being a multi-billion pesos enterprise many unscrupulous
businessmen are enticed to engage in it. But these type of businessmen knew that the illegal
drug trade cannot survive because of them only.
Criminologists tell us that for an illegal trade to thrive it must have the support and
protection of those in uniform, those in robes and those in government who are in barongs
and suits.
Truth is no illegal trade could last a minute without such support and protection.
The administration’s current war on drugs has proven itself to be an enigma. While it
has so far killed thousands of suspects, the big drug lords, they who supply shabu to small

time pushers who are users as well, remain scot free. In fact, they remain anonymous to the
police and the other authorities tasked with fighting illegal drugs.
No one should wonder why illegal drugs continues to be peddled in our sitios and
barangays. The bigtime source, inexplicably, are still free to ply their illegal trade. They are
the people behind the multi-billion pesos shabu smuggled into the country that were
thwarted by the authorities.
But only these bigtime drug lords know how much of their shipments were allowed to
pass through Bureau of Customs, for example, and how much were allowed to be foiled and
seized for how was it possible that shabu is still flooding the illegal drug trade market if
smuggling of these had been foiled and thwarted? Truly, this situation is very

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