Effects of War on Drugs to the Filipinos and Their Economy

Published: 2021-06-17 06:26:16
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In 1971 president Richard Nixon of the United States declared War on Drugs. Increasing drug consumption in the 1960s probably led Nixon to target on drug exploitation. In the context of the War on Drugs initiation, Nixon raised funds for drug management agencies and proposed strict rules for drug atrocities, such as compulsory prison sentences. The war on drugs took a slight discontinuation in the mid-1970s. Between 1973 and 1977, 11 countries decriminalized the possession of marijuana.
President Roland Reagan strengthened and expanded many of Nixon’s War on Drugs movement in his campaign called “Just Say No”, which was an effort to educate children about the dangers of drug abuse. In 1986, the Congress ratified the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which laid down mandatory minimum verdict for definite drug crimes.This law was later strongly accused of having racist consequences because it allotted harsher penalties for crimes involving the same amount of crack cocaine (used more often by black Americans) as cocaine powder (used more often by white Americans). Critics also pointed to figures showing that people of color were mostly targeted and detained on suspicion of drug use at greater rates than whites, leading to inordinate rates of imprisonment among color communities.As the saying goes, “History repeats itself.” Since Rodrigo Duterte became President of the Philippines in June 2016, he has declared a war on drugs that resulted in the extrajudicial demise of thousands of suspected drug traffickers and users across the nation country. This research paper argues that the War on Drugs is inept in dealing drug regulation in the Philippines. Also, the government should consider abolishing War on Drugs to reduce the extrajudicial killings and put an end to the program’s chain reaction, due to its defects, and human right violations against Filipinos.
Daily Massacre
Over 12,000 alleged drug users and traffickers, mainly from poor families in urban areas throughout the Philippines, are thought to have been killed in the drug war, including an approximated 4,000 in police-led operations and the remainder from “vigilantes.” Amid pressure to halt extrajudicial killings and the police touting more accountability in their operations, daily massacre in the impoverished neighborhoods of Manila continues. Trajano (2018), secretary general of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates says, “Two thirds of the killings are carried out by what we call police vigilantes – masked agents without uniforms but with clear ties to the security forces.” There are couple of instances wherein the person killed is an alleged drug user by the police or a vigilante, but the people who have close connections to the person who have executed deny that fact. Then the police labels the case as a DUI case, “death under investigation”, a classification that has been used thousands of times since June 30, 2016. But the people believe that the murder is an extrajudicial killing.
The war on drugs of president Duterte has abandoned thousands of children either residing as orphans or in single parents who desperately trying to put food on the table. Several instances wherein the program causes mothers to be widowed and care for her child or children. In this context, youth are then forced to work at an early age to provide for their family’s needs if not there is a possibility to a heightened malnutrition rate which currently stands at 33.4% in Filipino children. Extrajudicial killings have mostly taken place in deprived areas of Metro Manila, though deaths have also increased in Cebu and other cities. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the victims, mainly poor urban Filipinos, were killed after allegedly fighting back during raids. Thousands more were killed by unconfirmed gunmen all throughout the nation.
The Fall of Investment Commitments
Amid Duterte’s autocratic strike and populist rhetoric, many saw him as a maverick lawmaker who was able to shake up the Philippine economy, which had long been hampered by oligopolies and poor infrastructure. However, Duterte’s earth- scorched war on drugs, which allegedly resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings, as well as political fragility, in particular his unexpected shutdown of the tourist island of Boracay, has rattled investors both inside and outside Philippines. During Duterte ‘s first year in office, South Korea’s new capital investment commitments fell by 93%, whereas American businessmen fell by also 70%.In the first half of 2017, six months after the war on drugs in Duterte, new investment commitments fell by 90%. New investment commitments fell by 40% year- on- year in the first quarter of this year. Lee (2018), Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President concludes, “To be frank with you, to date… the Philippines is not a safe country.”
Corrupt Judicial System
The Philippine judicial system is very slow and perceived as corrupt, enabling Duterte to act proactively and address the issue of drugs in a non- constructive manner with widespread human rights abuses. Furthermore, in the face of a kleptocratic, elite- led political system and a slow, inefficient and extremely corrupt judiciary, people are ready to tolerate this politician who has promised something and is now delivering. There are no trials, so there is no evidence that drug traffickers or drug users are actually the killed. This shows the shallowness of human rights organizations and the discourse of a prevalent and qualified populist leader. Drug pushers and drug abusers are a marginalized group and it is always difficult for marginalized communities to gain political support in defending their rights. The war on drugs involves not only trying to kill but also being compensated.
International Criticism and Fillipinos’ Support
Between 10 May, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines and 11 August 2016, well over 850 people were killed. During the last six weeks alone, over 650 people have been killed. During his presidential campaign and in office for the first days, Mr. Duterte strongly urged law enforcement agencies and the citizens to kill suspected drug traffickers and drug users. The President was also noted to be promising impunity for such murders and rewards for those who turn ‘dead or alive’ into drug traffickers. Two United Nations human rights specialists urged the Government of the Philippines to bring an end to the ongoing wave of extrajudicial executions and murders against drug traffickers and addicts in the context of an intensified anti- crime and anti- drugs campaign. An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a individual by government authorities with no judicial or lawful process being sanctioned. Extrajudicial punishments are mainly regarded as immoral by mankind, as they evade the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they take place. Callamard(2018), Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial; summary or arbitrary executions, stressed that the fight against illicit drug trafficking does not relieve the government of its international legal obligations and does not protect state actors or others from being responsible for illegal killings. Furthermore she stressed the state has a legal duty to guarantee the right to life and safety of all persons in the nation, whether or not they are presumed of criminal offenses. Pûras(2018), the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health notes,”… responses to the illicit drug trade must be carried out in full compliance with national and international obligations and should respect the human rights of each person.”The Special Rapporteurs welcomed recent reports that President Duterte now publicly condemns vigilante justice and urges all officials to take a clear and direct position against it. However it is not enough. The experts stated that all accusations of murders and extrajudicial executions need to be investigated quickly and effectively. Without exception, perpetrators and instigators must be sanctioned.
Despite widespread international criticism, according to the second quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), the majority of Filipinos managed to remain content with the campaign of the Duterte Administration against narcotics. From 27 to 30 June 2018, the survey found that 78 percent of Filipinos adults said they were pleased with Duterte’s drug war, while 13 percent were unsatisfied with a overall approval score of + 65, which the SWS classified as very good.
The program decreased the average monthly crime rate to 49.15%, 11.51% lower than last year’s 55.54%. The average monthly crime rate alludes to the average amount of crime incidents per 100,000 inhabitants per month over a fixed time period. The efficiency of crime clearance, the percentage of cases emptied out of the total number of crime incidents treated by law enforcement agencies, increased from 63.49% in July to 69.49%. A case is resolved when at least one of the offenders is recognized, adequate evidence is available to charge him and he is fined before the prosecutor’s office or the court. The crime index volume shrunk from 17,105 by 31.01 percent to 11,800. The PNP defines index crime as severe and occurs with adequate frequency. From 11,106 PNP information, the number of property offenses decreased by 40.30 percent to 6,630. The number of burglary events fell from 11,106 to 6,630 whilst the total number of theft incidents fell to 4,230 from 7,168. Vehicle robbery cases fell from 1,109 to 705. The quantity of non- index atrocities edged down from 39,234 to 39,017. Duterte pledged inside three to six months to suppress criminal act and illegal drugs and proclaimed a brutal and violent war on drug lords. These are just few of the reasons why Filipinos greatly support the war on drugs program of President Duterte.
Although Duterte’s program in order to eradicate drug traffickers and abusers. Like for instance his program led into a less atrocities and more incarceration rate that make the Filipino people feel safe. But for the majority, the effects of war on drugs are more gravely negative than positive side. War on drugs is just a euphemism used by the government in order to trick deceive the Filipinos into focusing only what is only presented but never dig deeper down the context. Behind those sweet promises are the demise of the destitute and the lives of children that are made orphans and suffer malnutrition that are undergoing a cycle. There are people affected until today that wants to get justice because they are still troubled and questioning on what was truly the reason on why their loved-ones was chosen to die out of the many people in the nation. There are no court trials because of the extrajudicial process that means a state of lawlessness for the program, so there is no proof that drug traffickers or drug users are then killed. This demonstrates the hollowness of human rights groups and the discourse of a well-known political leader. People can never seek justice because they are powerless and being trampled by the kleptocratic powerful yet abusive politicians in the country. Destitute’s voices can never be truly heard because of the stereotyping caused by the program and later on became tension on them. Drug pushers and drug abusers are oppressed group and it is always tough for marginalized communities to gain political approval in their defense of rights. People in this world only get one chance in order for them to live but because of the abusing of the sovereignty of the other people this life is hastened and is quickly put to an end. As people, it is a possibility that there iss omeone that can make this world a better place to live in. Living a life is important. The right to live is essential.

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