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Filipinos hopeful despite ‘menace’

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EXPECT the brutal war against the illegal drug menace to continue in 2017 even as 95 percent of adult Filipinos said they will be entering the New Year with hope rather than with fear, the Palace said Thursday.

“The President is very careful that everything is done with regularity,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said, when asked about President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans.

The Palace spokesman said that educating the country about the depth and extent of the illegal drug menace will be a priority for the President next year.

Abella said the war on drugs has entered its second phase, which is treating it as a public health issue, with an education aspect to warn the youth about the dangers of drugs.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella

Duterte on Thursday apologized to Filipinos who became collateral damage of his bloody war on illegal drugs, but insisted there must be casualties in any war. 

“I must admit that there were killings that were unintended, and I am sorry that there has to be a casualty,” the President said in an ANC television interview. 

But in a separate interview, Duterte dismissed concerns that innocent lives are being lost.

“It’s a claim. If you can give me a lie, I could make it 10 times better,” Duterte said when asked to react to families seeking justice for their slain loved ones whom they claim to be innocent.

“It’s because they are fighting the authorities. They are committing crimes. They are ready to fight it out because of constant use of shabu,” he said.

The so-called collateral damage during police operations are just “normal,” and that government forces may not be held criminally liable for the deaths of innocent civilians, he said.

Talk of a continuing bloody war on drugs came against the backdrop of a new survey showing 95 percent of Filipinos are entering the New Year with high hopes, while 5 percent said they will do so with fear.

In the latest Social Weather Stations survey of 1,500 Filipinos, hope is widespread in all areas: 97 percent in Balance Luzon, 95 percent in National Capital Region, 95 percent in Mindanao, and 92 percent in the Visayas. 

Compared to last year, hopefulness for the New Year improved in provincial areas but hardly changed in Metro Manila.

Hopefulness for the New Year is high regardless of socio-economic class, with almost 99 percent of upper to middle classes ABC hopeful of the coming 2017, with only slightly higher compared to 95 percent among class D and 93 percent among very poor class E.

New Year hope is slightly higher among those who expected a happy 2016 Christmas than among those who expected a sad Christmas.

Of the 73 percent who were expecting a happy 2016 Christmas, 96 percent also look forward to 2017 with hope.

Even among the 5 percent who were expecting a sad Christmas, 92 percent are hopeful of the coming year.

The Fourth Quarter SWS Survey, conducted from December 3-6, has sampling error margins of ±3 percent  for national percentages.


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