When President Duterte assumed office, he said he would quell the drug problem between three and six months. But he is now in his second year in office and so far there seems to be no end in sight for the war against illegal drugs.
According to police estimates, which would include vigilante killings, there have been 5,000 already killed. Other estimates place the number between 7,000 and 9,000.
The problem is not so much the number of people involved or killed. The issue is whether all this can be ended.
The President must realize that the drug problem will never be eradicated during his term. For as long as there is demand for illegal drugs, the cartels will be willing to provide the supply. The Bureau of Customs is also corrupt and inept. Given our porous borders, drugs will continue to come in.
I have always said our drug problem is rooted in poverty and joblessness.
This is not to say, of course, that only the poor are addicted to illegal drugs. The rich also using it, for kicks. They have their own reasons for doing so.
I know all these because I used to be vice president for Bob Garon’s DARE Foundation.
I also said that going after users and pushers is just solving half the problem. What are we going to do with the users who need to be rehabilitated?
If the President truly wants to solve the drug problem, he should address the root cause of poverty and joblessness. The drug menace will not go away even if the administration kills all the pushers!
Lest I am misunderstood, I am not saying that President Duterte has not done anything to solve the drug problem. His commitment is commendable. He wants to protect the future generation from the effects of drugs. He has been able to do things his predecessors were not able to do. This is why surveys show that people continue to trust him as a strong president.
No, the killings are not the final solution. In fact, those killings have only spawned other problems.
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President Duterte has shown reluctance to fire Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon despite his glaring failure to curb smuggling, not just of goods but of illegal drugs!
Did not the President say he was ready to fire his appointees with just a hint of corruption?
Where there is incompetence, corruption persists.
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In my almost 70 years as a journalist, I have never seen so many impeachment attempts. There are complaints against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for betrayal of public trust, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for selective justice, and Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista for his unexplained wealth.
If all these pass the House, the Senate will have nothing else to do but try these officials instead of crafting laws!
What a circus!
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I have my doubts about the decision of the Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to accredit social media practitioners, so long as they have more than 5,000 followers, to cover the President.
Who will monitor these people? Who will pass judgment on whether they are acting responsibly? What if they publish fake news?
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There was a typo error in what I wrote about the 45th anniversary of the 365 Club. The breakfast at Holiday Inn will be on September 23, not September 25.
This is an invitation to those who have been meeting us over the years. See you there.