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Saturday, August 26, 2017

We are at war — the war against drugs

 (The Philippine Star) 

It seems that the Opposition and critics of President Duterte do not understand that his campaign against drugs is a war. By definition and for people who understand what a war entails it is a deadly conflict akin to armed conflict. There may be subtleties and nuances but we are caught in an abnormal situation in which people are being killed. On both sides there are victims.

The best definition of the war in this context is “it is a concerted” campaign to end something that is injurious.

To make political capital out of deaths in the war against drugs is most vicious especially if it comes from politicians who are then rewarded by money most of which goes to campaign funds.

I can understand why President Duterte is bent on wiping out the drug cartels. In this, we should support him. Think of war as an armed conflict and you will realize that each death is the cause of confrontation. People have to take sides depending on what they want the outcome of the war should be. If we lose the war against drugs because we lose an entire country, the victims will be uncountable as what is now happening in Mexico. Government will be helpless in dealing with it because the drug dealers and the money made from drugs becomes government with officials elected by the funds.

Just because it is happening in normal daily life. I might mention here although it will be the subject of my column tomorrow that  the Bautista expose is related to the war on drugs because our elections are being corrupted by drug money. The danger is if it goes unchecked  it will have drug money running our elections as what happened to Mexico.

No wonder only 250 people came to the Liberals’ rally against Duterte’s war on drugs and more than a million attended the May 7 miting de avance of Duterte. It is not politics. It is war and the Philippine nation must fight hard to win it. Foreign media some of whom have not even been to the Philippines decry violation of human rights but say nothing about what Filipinos are fighting for. It is not Duterte alone but an entire nation fighting against drug cartels with so much money they are taking over government by financing political candidates so they can win.

Poor Kian. He was killed by that war without even being conscious of what brought him to the battlefield. Poor Kian who will never know he has been used as a trophy of politicians who get elected by drug money. How can he connect his poverty with politicians who become rich or that he has been used to promote this corruption. For me, this is the perspective the rest of us must take. We must be on the side of stopping the drug menace that has invaded government.

Poor Senior Insp. Mark Gil Garcia, 37, chief of the special operations unit of the Rizal provincial police. He, too was killed on his third anti-drug mission. A good policeman fighting on our side. He was on his third anti-drug mission for the day. He has been praised by comrades who said he had made 65 recent arrests and described by his superior as the best intelligence officer he had ever known, He was shot dead by a “shabu” peddler in Antipolo City.

It is not politics. It is war, the outcome of which will affect us all. I must say at this point that we should blame the Aquino Liberal government that had neglected and set aside the drug problem and made the war inevitable. Equally to blame are outside forces who are bent on destroying Duterte’s government because of his desire for an independent foreign policy. They have put the country in peril and Duterte is maligned for taking up the cause. He is not perfect. He is human and has his faults but the cause of fighting drugs should be championed by all Filipinos.

I regret I was not able to join the dinner with former Speaker Jose De Venecia, founder of the International Conference of Political Parties who has put his influence and political reach to tell the story of the drug war in the Philippines to the world.

He wrote a letter to the President that encapsulates what he can do to help.

“More than ever, perhaps the time has come for you to initiate the holding of a “Global Anti-Drugs Summit” in Manila to help address the narcotics crisis in the country which is also a raging global problem. That way, we could let our people understand that the crisis at home is not just a domestic problem but a worldwide scourge.

We had proposed this a few weeks ago in our Manila Bulletin column and foreign speeches and the response was positive. Some of your Cabinet members led by General Santiago of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Chair Andrea Domingo and columnist Carmen Pedrosa of the Philippine STAR and Undersecretary Dale Cabrera have invited us to a meeting last August 23, to discuss this initiative.

As a second equally important step, may we suggest that PRRD might call a “Government of National Unity” to further wrest the initiative and demilitarize all the critics and mobilize the various forces including the opposition to:

(1) Address the drug crisis;

(2) Mindanao Muslim extremism and conflict;

(3) Spratlys and South China Sea solution, etc.

It is hoped that these initiatives will also help improve the government's American and international relations, and the various projects undertaken, one after the other over appreciable intervals and help mobilize considerable understanding and support for your leadership and for our relations with the international community.

Ideally, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and key Cabinet members might coordinate this presidential initiative.

We pray that this will be a total WIN WIN solution for PRRD, the people and the country. “ More politicians and government officials should join the war if we are to win it.


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