Drug abuse has dramatically worsened over the years. This is clearly manifested by the high number of apprehensions relative to the violation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which impose stiff penalties for would-be violators.
Philippine jails are also heavily populated with drug-related offenders or suspects. Their cases range from mere usage to the manufacture of dangerous drugs. The most common of which is called “Shabu”, “poor man’s cocaine” or “meth” or simply “bato”. In Ilagan District Jail alone, one-third of the jail population are suspects for the violation of RA 9165-all facing charges at the various Regional Trial Courts in Ilagan and Cabagan. This is also the same picture in other jails.
What makes the drub menace a thriving underground activity? Philippines is now considered as one of the docking points or entry points of drug contrabands. Philippine archipelagic nature is a factor. The police and naval patrols cannot fully cover the 7,100 islands. Their limited number is also doubly weakened by various forms of corruption and bribery. Drug lords are awashed with money and do everything to bring in their products in cahoots with the police authorities.
The drug problem is considered a multi-billion dollar industry and it has grown into a self-regulated economy all on its own. It is now wrecking havoc to legitimate economy of the country and elsewhere.
Poverty also drives people to peddle dangerous drugs to earn a living. That’s why drugs are so common in squatters where poverty line and they would do everything to live.
The advent of free trade or liberation also contributed in the influx of raw materials for Shabu production. They can enter the ports or customs quite liberally and without tariffs or reduced tariffs. Latest news reports reveal that the Chinese nationals are involved in the entry of raw materials.
The drug menace does not only undermine economy. It has destroys the moral fabric of Philippine society. It attacks the families, the youth, the poor and ever the upright. It affects all ages-young and old. It transcends gender-male and female.
Dangerous drugs seem to be everywhere and authorities have to double efforts to check them. If every offender is apprehended, these are the likely outcome of acquittal as the method or manner of apprehension are usually violations of well-settled doctrines that protest individuals rights and liberties. Simply put, they were not properly apprehended. This, police authorities must well study and rectify their errors to ensure conviction.
The judiciary and justice department are also not spared of the drub menace. Drug lords could afford to dispense their millions to overturn convictions, quack changes or bribe investigators. A former President once accused in robes- from the trial courts up to the appellate or ever the Supreme Court.
Drug lords also support politicians to secure protection from the law. In this way, they could maintain their illegal activities and spread their network and market.
Philippine government must be firm and make a decision stance. But the government cannot do this alone. The problem of drugs needs to involve the cooperation of the community, the church and the media. The prosecutors and judges, the police and POEA.Police information about the ill-effects must not only in schools but in the barangays as well. Rehabilitation centers must be affordable to make time accessible. And most importantly, livelihood programs must be accorded to the needy and make them productive.