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Crossing school lines

Universities normally pit themselves against each other in an attempt to establish which is best—in academics, sports, or the eventual placement of its graduates.

But the country’s top three higher learning institutions—University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University—recently put their heads together and launched drugarchives.ph, a web site dedicated to keeping tabs on the Duterte administration’s ongoing war on drugs. 

The universities worked in tandem with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. 

The Drug Archive is a database of documents and analyses that present the real picture of the controversial and polarizing campaign. It lists cases related to the drug campaign, updates the official tally of drug-related deaths and homicide cases under investigation, and puts together government-issued documents pertaining to the drug war. 

The web site succeeds on two levels. First, it is rightfully the young people who must spearhead efforts to keep track of the progress, if any, of the war against illegal drugs. 

They have higher stakes because their views on how things should and should not be have not yet been tainted and it is they who would live out the consequences of decisions made today.

They are also the ones with the capacity and inclination to use tools of any kind to store and communicate information.

Second, that there can never be any other way to evaluate government initiatives such as the anti-drug campaign outside of good evidence. 

These days when talk is cheap, and anybody can just claim anything without proof, there is a premium for discussions that are anchored on sound data. 

Anybody with Internet access should refuse to make the site fall into irrelevance, or cower under pressure. Much is expected of the people, and there is great evil to be confronted, even if it is only from in front of our computer screens. 

It would be foolhardy for anybody to attribute malice and sheer politics to this effort by the three universities. In the end, our objective is the same—to rid this country of drugs and its ill effects through well-thought out policies and lawful methods that respects life, above all. 

If there is sincerity, conscientiousness, and a firm grasp of right and wrong, there will be no need to talk tough or trump up numbers. The evidence will speak for itself. 

Topics: University of the Philippines , Ateneo de Manila University , De La Salle University , Rodrigo Duterte , Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism , War on drugs
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