Choos­ing the con­tro­ver­sial, shal­low

Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION -

Some Cebu City Coun­cilors had an in­ter­est­ing dis­cus­sion on how barangays should con­duct the war against il­le­gal drugs. This fol­low­ing the ad­mo­ni­tion by of­fi­cials of the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights (CHR) 7 for con­cerned barangays to stop the con­duct of a shame cam­paign—be it the pos­i­tive or the neg­a­tive kind.

The con­tro­ver­sial cam­paign in­volves the past­ing of stick­ers or the hang­ing of signs or even the spray-paint­ing of mes­sages like “this is a drug den” (neg­a­tive) or “this house is drugfree (pos­i­tive). A vari­a­tion to that is to let the own­ers of the house­holds do the past­ing of the stick­ers or even the spray-paint­ing it­self.

The so-called “shame cam­paign” seems to have be­come the fa­vored method by barangay of­fi­cials lately in the fight against il­le­gal drugs. Even may­ors, like Paz Radaza in Lapu-Lapu City and To­mas Os­meña in Cebu City are sup­port­ing the ef­fort. The be­lief is that by do­ing so, tar­get per­son­al­i­ties would ei­ther be shamed or con­sumed by fear and stop their al­leged par­tic­i­pa­tion in the il­le­gal drugs trade.

But even with­out the ad­mo­ni­tion by the CHR, it re­mains to be seen whether the cam­paign is re­ally ef­fec­tive, as no study has been con­ducted on it. If the threat of be­ing killed like the thou­sands who have so far died in the bru­tal war against drugs con­ducted by the po­lice has not been that ef­fec­tive, would mere sham­ing be? The cam­paign does shame the in­no­cent but does not af­fect the guilty.

The point is, barangay of­fi­cials can be ef­fec­tive in the drive against il­le­gal drugs with­out re­sort­ing to a shame cam­paign.

Barangay of­fi­cials are the most knowl­edge­able of the con­duct of the peo­ple un­der their ju­ris­dic­tion. Barangay Cap­tain Feli­cisimo Rupinta, for ex­am­ple, knows bet­ter than a newly as­signed chief of po­lice of the Car­bon sta­tion as far as the trad­ing of il­le­gal drugs in Er­mita is con­cerned. Co­or­di­nat­ing with the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) or the po­lice and hon­estly help­ing in the said law en­forcers’ drive against il­le­gal drugs is the more ef­fec­tive method.

The prob­lem is that ei­ther barangay of­fi­cials are afraid of the il­le­gal drug traders or are in ca­hoots with them so that they pre­fer the con­tro­ver­sial and shal­low method of bat­tling the spread of il­le­gal drugs in their ar­eas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.