IN just a couple of months now, President Rodrigo Duterte will step down as the leader of this nation, and a new one will replace him.
His battle cry and campaign to wage war against illegal drugs during his term as president may have produced some sort of positive result in some areas in the country, and we have seen how the constant and incessant operations conducted by law enforcement authorities against members and leaders of drug syndicates have reduced their numbers, but overall despite claims of victory against illegal drugs, there is the sad fact that reality tells us otherwise. If it is any comfort at all the problem of the rampant proliferation of illegal drugs in the country that continues to persist despite efforts to stamp it out has to do and is directly connected to how illegal drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride or ‘shabu’ is being manufactured and distributed all around SouthEast Asia.
This was bared by no less than the Chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Catalino Cuy who, in a newspaper media forum where he guested, admitted that the DDB “has downshifted its vision to make the country drug-free to making it drug-resilient by 2022”. Adding further that “the goal to rid the Philippines of illegal drugs by next year was too ambitious”.
DDB Chairman Cuy, in the forum, also revealed that the downshifting of their vision is because of the difficulty of eliminating the drug problem brought about by the rampant and widespread drug trafficking that goes on in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and China.
It’s a good thing that DDB Chairman Cuy mentioned these other countries where, as credible reports have already established, much of the illegal drugs being sold in South East Asia and elsewhere, are actually being manufactured for transport and distribution. The area that abuts the borders of the three countries Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand is what is called the ‘Golden Triangle,’ not because there is gold to be mined there, but due to the fact that it is where illegal drugs are being made under the control and protection of various drug gangs, warlords, and big-time drug syndicates. It’s a lawless piece of land and the heart and territory of illegal drugs in Asia.
If the DDB now acknowledges that the persistent problem of illegal drugs in the Philippines is directly related and connected to the sale and distribution of illegal drugs coming out of the ‘golden triangle’ then there is a need to not only downshift the vision for making the country drug free but to revise the strategy on how to eliminate the problem not only here but also in those countries bordering the ‘golden triangle’.
The DDB should therefore rethink its approach on what to recommend to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on how to stop and eliminate drug laboratories in the ‘golden triangle’ and prevent the manufacture, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs particularly shabu.
The war on drugs is not endemic to the Philippines, it is a worldwide problem more so here in SouthEast Asia where drug seizures have set records in terms of the amount of drugs seized and the number of drugs computed from their street value. Given this fact, there is now a pressing need for the members of the ASEAN to unite and put their heads together in order to come up with a feasible solution on how to finally put an end to the drug epidemic besetting this part of the world.