Choosing the controversial, shallow
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.