War on Drugs of the Current Administration: Analytical Essay

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“I will do just as I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because, I’d kill you.” — this is the statement of Rodrigo Duterte during his campaign period for presidency last 2016. This serves as a threat for those who continue to practice their illegal activities. This is addressed to all regardless of social and political status. After he gained his seat as president, he encouraged the public to participate in the war on drugs that he declared upon his inauguration last June 2016. The Philippine National Police, under the leadership of now former Director General Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa, have spearheaded this campaign targeting both users and sellers of illegal drugs.

They started this campaign through conducting door-to-door duties, known as Oplan Tokhang encouraging drug users and sellers to surrender so that they will be given another chance and repent for the wrong doings that they have done. In its first seven months of implementation, the Philippine National Police have gathered 63,728 people in Cebu alone. After year of continuous campaign, the PNP-led Oplan Tokhang have covered 8.8M homes and gathered 1.2M surrenderees from July 1, 2016 to October 10, 2017. With the continuation of the war on drugs under the operation Oplan Double Barrel, number of surrenderees and personalities arrested have dramatically increased. As of January 17, 2018, the number of arrested drug personalities soared up to 119,361 on 81,919 conducted operations nationwide. In this number, personalities, such as elected government officials, government employees, and uniformed personnel are included tallying up to 189, 213, and 44 respectively.

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President Rodrigo Duterte has been true to his words when he said he is going to eradicate the illegal drugs that has been festering the streets of the country for years although he was not able to it in six months as what he had stated during the campaign period. Realistically, eradicating illegal drugs for only a short amount of time is a gargantuan task considering its extent and saturation in the country. The way Duterte handled the campaign against illegal drugs is a reflection on how he ran Davao City for 22 years. Davao City served as the starting point that played a vital role in his rise to power. He turned a lawless and unordered city into a haven where everyone can prosper and improve as individuals. For instance, he ensured the safety of the common people through personally patrolling the streets of Davao City in his motorbike — a common story Davaoeños love to tell about their mayor. Duterte established strict curfew hours for minors that was always observed. He also prohibited the sale of liquor past 2 a.m., and smoking is only allowed in various places.

Disobeying these result to severe consequences. There were accounts that state that one tourist disobeyed one of these rules and that tourist learnt the law the hard way. Many have said that during his reign, they felt like Duterte was their personal protector because of the way he handles things. The way he disciplines the citizens of the city is phenomenal. He made sure that his presence was felt not only in a political point of view but also at a personal level. Furthermore, it was during his reign that Davao received a lot of positive recognition for peace and orderliness. Although, critics have been pointing out that also during his reign, extrajudicial killings were very prominent. Criminals were summarily executed by the police or hired assassins riding in motorcycles. Chris Yaco, a rice vendor stated that if these killings were not done, a lot of people will suffer especially the younger generation. He also added that being a good person in Davao will result to positive consequences. It implies that the mayor’s rules are absolute and why would one fear him if nothing wrong is done. The situation in Davao City before is the epitome that with some sacrifices, things can largely change. As he reigns supreme in this country, he tries to gain the same results as what he had during his time in Davao and the war on drugs is the best way of accomplishing this task. So far, as the war on drugs progress, many have gained confidence about their safety, and many had the assurance of a better future ahead of them. The current administration’s war on drugs have molded the Philippines in becoming a better nation by neutralizing the illegal drug trade, lessening the susceptibility of the younger generation to illegal drugs and by decreasing the occurrence of drug-related crimes.

On contrary, the war on drugs have been continuously criticized and seen by many as a human right violation. This is because of the continuous killing without trial or enough evidence to support the accusation to a person. It is commonly attributed to the number and kind of people that were being killed by these anti-drug operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police. Among the anti-drug operations, most of the victims that were killed were urban-poor people. In the first two years of implementation, the illegal drug campaign claimed more than 12,000 lives and majority of those people were identified as urban-poor. However, the people that were killed were not all done by the operations of the said government agencies because most of the victims were killed by unidentified assassins. Critics suspect that these killings were done by the infamous Davao Death Squad — a group of assassins personally picked by Duterte to do his dirty work for him. In a recent study, it shows that among 5,021 drug-related killings from May 10, 2016 to September 29, 2017, 44% were killed by assailants on the streets and 23% were killed by police ops near houses. This study showed that these people were of poor background and were either manual laborers or unemployed. Considering these, the war on drugs that was perceived to eradicate illegal drugs from the country, actually just eliminates the poor from highly urbanized places. Instead of war against drugs, it became a war against the poor because of the high susceptibility and vulnerability of such people to get killed. Aside from the poor, many cases of homicide have been reported that were allegedly related to drugs. According to the Philippine National Police, as of January 17, 2018, the total number of homicide cases filed was 2,235 with 413 cases solved and 1,822 are still under investigation. In the least, it was reported as homicide but the families of the victims believe otherwise. In the eyes of the family, a victim is a great person without any affiliation to illegal drugs while the authorities believe the opposite. A report from Human Rights Watch said that the police have been carrying out extrajudicial killings and are falsely planting evidence such as illegal drugs and guns just to make it seem related to illegal drugs and make it an acceptable slaughter. Alongside this are the falsely-accused self-defense of the victims to which the family have disproved many times. Despite these accusations and criticisms, one cannot deny that through the war on drugs, the Philippines have become a safer place over the years. It also paved a way for other projects to become true such as the Build, Build, Build project. Many surrenderees from the Oplan Tokhang had been given a chance to change their lives and consequently, the government have provided them employment as construction workers for the said project. Other surrenderees have started anew for the betterment of their own future. The war on drugs have not only made the country better as a whole, but it also made its citizens better because it allowed them to be better versions of themselves by giving them another chance in life.

The positive effects of the war on drugs range from the benefit it brings to an individual to the benefits it brings to the country. As it was implemented, numerous drug dens have been raided and the street value of the illegal drugs that they have seized reach up to billions. Through the war on drugs, the illegal drug trade has been neutralized and weakened to some extent. As the war on drugs commenced, authorities gather as much as intel possible in order to capture illegal drug users and pushers. Their efforts were not wasted because as of January 17, 2018, 183 drug dens have been seized including 9 clandestine laboratories which serve as the primary producer of illegal drugs. In these drug dens they have confiscated illegal drugs with a street value of PhP 19.34 Billion. This includes marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine which are highly prevalent in the country. Furthermore, during the first quarter of 2019, the PDEA have posted an all-time high record of PhP 5.27 Billion worth of methamphetamine. A total of 716 kilograms were seized in Cavite, Muntinlupa and Manila. Every year, billions worth of illegal drugs are confiscated through the joint effort of government agencies. However, the total amount of illegal drugs and number of large drug personalities is still largely unknown but over the past few years, it is perceived to dramatically decrease. The seizure of drug dens and large amounts of illegal drugs is a devastating blow for those who patronize illegal drugs because their room to operate and supply decreases. And as authorities gain more power and gather more intel about them, their movements are limited which prompts them to work under the shadows. The war on drugs has also been focusing on huge drug personalities to which the authorities believe to be the primary supplier and distributors of illegal drugs in all regions of the country. For instance, the capture of Chinese chemists from a drug buy-bust operation last April 12-16, 2018 in Cavite, Batangas, and Malabon City led to a weakened presence of the Dragon Wu drug ring in the southern part of the country because the authorities were able to seize large amounts of chemicals that were essential for the creation of Ecstasy and Methamphetamine and they were also able to confiscate 481.1 grams of Methamphetamine. The laboratories that were seized was capable of producing 25 kilograms of illegal drugs in a day which has a street value of PhP 125 Million. This disturbs the balance in the illegal drug trade in the region which could potentially lead to jeopardy and to their own demise. As the war on drugs continue to progress, the illegal drug trade’s room to operate becomes thinner until it is fully neutralized and destroyed which leads to a peaceful and unplagued country.

As illegal drugs have been saturated in the streets of different cities and provinces, people of all ages are prone to being exposed to illegal drugs. The saddest part of the illegal drug trade is that they even use the youth to do their dirty work. They primarily use them as couriers and some start to use it was well due to temptation and peer pressure. However, this practice has been hindered by the war on drugs through rescuing the youth from the hands of illegal drug abusers. Last June 2017, 11 minors were caught alongside five adults in a drug bust in Cebu. They were allegedly acting as drug couriers without their full knowledge and consent. The victims thought they were asked to run an errand. The rescued minors were put into social centers for counseling so that they have the opportunity to straighten their life. In the first two years of implementation, authorities have rescued 1,155 minors nationwide and almost 50 percent of them were 17 years old. This is a great number considering the past situation of the youth before. The number of youth exposed to illegal drugs before the war on drugs have commenced is extremely high. Youth in state colleges were targeted and served as primary patrons of illegal drugs while minors in slums served as drug couriers. The rescue of the youth from the hands of notorious criminals enables them to start anew through processing and rehabilitation processes offered by government agencies. This gives them hope and motivation to change for the better not only for himself but also for the advancement of the country as a whole. Through this, they become pure and serve as the voice that would lead the country to a bright future as what Dr. Jose Rizal had believed. As the war on drugs progress and continue save the youth, the current administration diverts the attention of the youth to sports and encourage them to hone their skills and avoid any connection or affiliation to illegal drugs. President Rodrigo himself addressed the participants of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa personally and in his speech he said that sports serves as an avenue to divert the youth from illegal drugs, criminality and other lawless acts. The war on drugs rescues the youth that succumbed in the depths of the illegal drug trade, gives them another chance through obligatory rehabilitation and sets a boundary that would permanently prevent them from being exposed once more. Through this, they are no longer vulnerable from potential threats that criminals pose and they can now find a new purpose in life that would propel them to a better and brighter future.

Illegal drugs have a large effect on the mind of an ordinary person. It can make them commit inhumane acts that questions the very being of a person. Methamphetamine, for example, affects the user’s brain largely. It affects his decision-making, judgement, memory, and ability to learn. This causes them to undergo a phase of being fully unaware of their surroundings and in the things that they do hence making them commit such heinous crimes. Last June 2017, a gruesome crime was committed in Bulacan which took the life of a family of 5 by a suspect under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Authorities have verified that he raped 2 victims before killing them. Victims received multiple stab wounds in different parts of their body which resulted to their instant death. The suspect said that he did not remember anything after killing the 2 women. Another is the killing of a mother and his two sons in Caloocan City in which the suspect was their own kin. The victims were found two days after they were killed and were found decomposing inside their own household. The victims were allegedly robbed and stabbed multiple times while hogtied and gagged. The suspect was later undergone in a drug test and the findings were positive. He later admitted that he was indeed under the influence of drugs as he did the crime. The family was killed as if they were slaughtered like animals. The cruelty that was widely displayed. They have butchered them as if they do not have a regard for human life. This is one of the primary reasons why the war on drugs was commenced — to prevent horrible drug-related crimes from happening. Crimes committed under the influence of drugs are commonly inhumane and unforgivable and gives the idea to people that death penalty should be brought back. As the war on drugs was implemented, these kind of crimes drastically decreased because the authorities were steps ahead of the drug-dependents and without them, the occurrence of drug-related crimes would not be possible. According to the President’s Report from 2016 to 2018, the crimes that were committed were mostly theft and robbery that can directly be associated with poverty and unemployment. This was followed by car napping and motor cycle robbery. Fortunately, the number of these crimes has also dropped compared to the last few years dropping about 33.52%, 27.52%, 30.55% and 21.85% respectively from the total occurrence last year. Furthermore, the data gathered by the Philippine National Police in 2018 have shown that the war on drugs have caused a 25% decrease in crime rate between January and June of that year. There were only 6,881 incidents of homicide, murder, physical injuries and rape compared to 2017’s 9,183 incidents of the same crimes. They have reiterated that mostly drug users were behind such crimes as a result of being exposed or insufficient funding for their vice. These results show how the war on drugs is able to suppress the transgressions of illegal drug addicts and fanatics. With this, progress is easy to attain which would drive the country towards advancement and a bright future.

The Philippines has improved to a better country through the continuous suppression of illegal drugs through the neutralization of the illegal drug trade, reduction of vulnerability of the youth and the occurrence of drug-related crimes. The war on drugs have been effective in lessening but it has yet to be called successful because as long as there are remnants of huge drug rings in the country, the war is soon from being over. However, it has created a huge dent and has made a mark in the illegal drug trade. It has neutralized the illegal drug trade through confiscating large amounts of illegal drugs and seizing large clandestine laboratories that produce kilograms of illegal drugs per day. The war on drugs have been directly assaulting the source to prevent it from reaching the streets of different cities and municipalities throughout the country. Furthermore, the vulnerability of the youth has also been lessened because as the suppliers were assaulted, the remnants or the branches of these drug rings were also being targeted and it was during these operations that children of all ages were rescued from the hands of syndicates after being used in their wrongdoings and efforts have been exerted in diverting the attention of these youth to more suitable and appropriate activities that would help them secure a better future. At the same time, as these operations were done, many drug suspects were arrested hindering them from committing serious and horrific crimes. This led to a dramatic decrease in the occurrence of drug-related crimes. Through the course of Philippine history, no other campaign was proven to be more effective in decreasing the amount of illegal drugs in the country other than the current administration’s war on drugs and rather than throwing harsh criticism and skeptics, the more appropriate course of action would be supporting and advocating it, if not in a large scale, even in small ways. The current administration has proven its capabilities through the implementation of the war on drugs so supporting it would be a great help in exterminating this pest that has plagued the country for years. Filipinos have seen proof and change became a reality which was felt and enjoyed by many. Many have been able to experience a healthy living environment and a safe place to work. Many have been able to sleep soundly at night without a concern about their safety. Many have been able to start a new chapter of their lives and many have been able to secure a bright future for their own and their future children. All of these became a reality through one campaign, the campaign that was doomed to fail, the campaign that was criticized and doubted by many, and the campaign which was tagged as a bloody and unorderly — the current administration’s war on drugs.

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War on Drugs of the Current Administration: Analytical Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/war-on-drugs-of-the-current-administration-analytical-essay/
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