The Philippines’ On-going War on Drugs


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Mandatory drug test for Davao City business owners

The City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), along with other government agencies, are asking Davao City business owners that have an employee of ten or more to comply with the mandatory drug test as part of the requirements for their business permit. This city ordinance 0506-13 that will take effect in 2020 is another part of the government’s anti-drug campaign. Earlier of this year, PDEA also announced that the government would impose annual drug test for both teachers and students starting from 4thgrade. According to the PDEA, this action is an attempt to detect 10 year old potential users for possible intervention. However, rights groups protested that this is a violation to the child’s right to bodily integrity and privacy. According to them also, this would negatively affect the child’s reputation in school, making it a hindrance to the person’s study. 

Photo: Sunstar.com.ph/article/1805895

Drug test for PUV drivers

In October of this year, the Philippine government, though Land Transportation Office (LTO) has conducted a program called “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Undas”. This project includes random drug testing to drivers and conductors of PUV before leaving the terminal. The drivers found positive with the test will be subject to suspension. As a requirement for drivers and operators who will be found positive, they must take a confirmatory test, meaning they have to test negative or to prove that drugs have already been flushed out from their body for them to claim their license again. Meanwhile, back in 2018 the house dangerous drugs committee chairman Robert Ace Barbers filed a resolution that obliges all House members and legislative staff to undergo drug test. As for now, the Supreme Court still considers this unconstitutional. 

Photo: Hrw.org | First conviction officers Philippines drug war

Extrajudicial killings revisited: Kian delos Santos 

It can be remembered that in 2016, many rights groups and politicians reacted strongly against the summary killings of minors and young children said to be caused by a vigilante group called Davao Death Squad (DDS), but sometimes said to have been the doing of the Philippine National Police (PNP) itself, and believed to be backed by president Rudrigo Duterte’s administration through it’s so-called “war on drugs” program. In February 2018, three police officers were convicted and fined for a brutal murder of a 17 year old student named Kian delos Santos in Caloocan City of August in 2017. The murder was caught on CCTV camera. In August of this year, Senator Francis Pangilinan has refiled the Senate Bill No. 428 for mandatory autopsies on crime victims and the Senate Bill 429, a law that requires collection of biological specimen from cremation. As of the moment, Senate Bill No. 428 is still pending at the committee level. 

Photo: Abs-Cbn | 3 cops found guilty of murder over kian delos santos slay

The Cost of Drug War

According to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), there were around 5,526 deaths from July 2016 to June 2019 alone and these operations said to have been carried out by the PNP. Because of these alarming series of death of many Filipinos who are said to have been involved with illegal drugs, the higher court has released a resolution saying that the number of deaths might suggest that the killings are “state-sponsored”. However, PDEA’s recent records show that cases of death are still rising and according to some rights groups, currently the drug war cost as many as 27,000 people. As of today, there is no decision yet from the Supreme Court about this matter. Meanwhile, on the Human Rights Watch website, it was claimed that there are around 2,555 cases of the killings that are attributed to the PNP. According to this group, their research has found that the police falsify evidence to justify the killings, claiming that the person fought so they have no choice but to fire a shot.

References:
  • https://www.hrw.org/tag/philippines-war-drugs
  • https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/philippines
  • https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1021481
  • https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/29/18/3-cops-found-guilty-of-murder-over-kian-delos-santos-slay
  • https://www.rappler.com/nation/217770-caloocan-policemen-convicted-murder-kian-delos-santos-killing
  • https://www.rappler.com/nation/234852-drug-war-killings-philippines-threshold-crimes-against-humanity-amnesty-international-report
  • https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/philippines

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Alter Picar

Alter Picar is a writer, translator, self-published author, songwriter / musician, community worker, non-profit organization manager (volunteer), mental health advocate / educator, librarian, and organic gardener.

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