Par­ti­sans can’t see the rain­bow

The Philippine Star - - OPINION - FED­ERICO D. PASCUAL Jr.

WE FIND it dif­fi­cult de­vis­ing a holis­tic ap­proach to the nar­cotic scourge, be­cause of our in­creas­ingly par­ti­san per­spec­tives. Many of us have started to see the world only in black and white, de­void of shades of gray and color.

We have not gone color blind to­tally, but many of us refuse to see the rain­bow in our com­mon sky. And many par­ti­sans see noth­ing but yel­low in what­ever they de­spise.

Ques­tion the on-the-spot ex­e­cu­tion of drug sus­pects and you are tagged pro-nar­cotics. Ex­press alarm over the pile-up of Tokhang vic­tims, and you are slapped down as hav­ing no right to crit­i­cize un­less you had made sim­i­lar com­ments against the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Some par­ti­sans refuse to see that one can sup­port a cam­paign against nar­cotics while crit­i­ciz­ing Pres­i­dent Duterte’s way of pur­su­ing his drug drive.

In my Postscript last Sun­day, I said: “Some quar­ters de­mand a stop to the drug war on ac­count of the run­away ex­e­cu­tion of ap­par­ently in­no­cent by­standers. We

beg to dis­agree. De­spite its short­com­ings, the war against drugs should not stop. On the con­trary, it should be pressed re­lent­lessly.” <>

Upon see­ing that part, a reader shot back: “Your con­clu­sion that the drug war it­self must con­tinue de­spite all of the fore­go­ing con­tra­dic­tions de­fies logic it­self. You can see the dam­age it has caused to in­no­cents. You can see how po­lice­men have been in­cited to reck­less vi­o­lence by the pres­i­dent. And still you sup­port this cam­paign?!!”

Ap­par­ently, when he read my “… the war against drugs should not stop,” his world switched to black and white – and he missed my suc­ceed­ing para­graphs:

“What is needed is a re­think­ing, a re­pro­gram­ming. The one-di­men­sional (kill, kill, kill!) pro­gram must be multi-di­men­sional to cover all as­pects, each prob­lem area given pro­por­tional em­pha­sis. The ac­tion-plan must then be multi-pronged.

“Wipe away the blood, take the cam­paign out of its nar­row po­lice con­text and re­view it from a holis­tic per­spec­tive that in­cludes its so­cio-eco­nomic and public health ram­i­fi­ca­tions. In short, take it out of the Davao tem­plate.”

Re­minds me of a tweeter who asked me, since I am crit­i­cal of the ex­tra­ju­di­cial killing of (pre­sumed in­no­cent) sus­pects, to give my al­ter­na­tive pro­gram. In 140 char­ac­ters on Twit­ter?

Maybe I should have sim­ply re­peated “…take (the pro­gram) out of the Davao tem­plate,” but that could have pro­voked de­mands for elab­o­ra­tion. Good that Mark Cruz @markcruze999 butted in with: “Just fol­low the law. There are ex­ist­ing laws that deal with il­le­gal drugs.”

• An ‘id­iot’ of­fers prac­ti­cal reme­dies RE­MEM­BER those “For Dum­mies” guides for al­most any­thing? Well, Ce­buano reader Clarence Paul V. Oam­i­nal, who de­pre­ci­at­ingly calls him­self “Ang boang nga abo­gado sa

Sugbo,” shares some “id­iot’s” ideas on drugs. He said “we have to be id­iots to truly know what is hap­pen­ing in our coun­try.” He re­called that the last time he wrote a memo to the Pres­i­dent on March 19, 2010, he was dis­missed from the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Board.

His let­ter to us at 1,120 words is even longer than my col­umn, so we’ll just cull from it:

“Why do we fo­cus our anti-drug op­er­a­tions on the streets? Killing street push­ers and seiz­ing sa­chets of shabu when these drugs and their es­sen­tial chem­i­cals are im­ported? The bat­tle­ground should be in our in­ter­na­tional sea­ports and air­ports. If there are drugs in our streets it means that our men guard­ing our ports fucked up.

“In Cebu weeks ago, 5 mil­lion ki­los of garbage passed Cus­toms in our in­ter­na­tional port. In 2004, P3.6 bil­lion worth of pseu­doephedrine was shipped from China through the Cebu In­ter­na­tional Port. In De­cem­ber 2009, 16 ki­los of co­caine were seized in the Port of Sasa, Davao City. These cases il­lus­trate how lax is our port se­cu­rity. The Pres­i­dent must make Dis­trict Col­lec­tors an­swer for this se­ri­ous ne­glect of duty.

“To fight drug smug­gling, here are the Id­iot’s rec­om­men­da­tions:

“1. The Pres­i­dent must or­der Cus­toms to phys­i­cally in­spect all con­tainer vans en­ter­ing in­ter­na­tional ports. ‘Ta­ble or pa­per in­spec­tion’ should be avoided, we should not be­lieve in the so-called pa­pers of the port of ori­gin. PDEA agents must be in ev­ery in­ter­na­tional sea­port and air­port to as­sist in nar­cotics in­ter­dic­tion. This is es­pe­cially so for con­tain­ers de­clared as empty. Aside from x-ray, ca­nine must as­sist in the check­ing.

“2. In­ter­na­tional air­ports must con­duct x-ray and ca­nine in­spec­tion of all in-bound cargo, es­pe­cially those con­signed to pri­vate couri­ers. The present prac­tice is that these couri­ers re­trieve di­rectly their car­goes with­out in­spec­tion as what is ex­am­ined are pas­sen­ger lug­gage/ boxes. We are so stupidly dis­tracted to be happy with seiz­ing 2 or 3 ki­los of co­caine or shabu at the air­ports but fail to in­ter­cept the 20 or 30 ki­los of shabu that goes di­rectly to the pri­vate for­ward­ing couri­ers.

“3. The Pres­i­dent must es­tab­lish in ev­ery re­gion the Sea­port and Air­port Nar­cotics Se­cu­rity Coun­cil com­posed of PDEA, Cus­toms, PNP, Coast Guard, Philip­pine Ports Au­thor­ity and Im­mi­gra­tion. Aside from in­com­ing chem­i­cals, chemists (usu­ally from China) should be tar­geted. The PDEA Com­pli­ance Ser­vice must be thor­ough in pre­vent­ing chem­i­cal di­ver­sions (es­sen­tial chem­i­cals like ephedrine are in­gre­di­ents for medicines) that in­stead of be­ing used as medicines are used for mak­ing shabu. There should be ac­count­abil­ity.

“4. We should stop blam­ing po­lice of­fi­cers for the drug prob­lem, but their cor­rupt lead­ers who can af­ford in­flu­en­tial lawyers and run to their padri­nos.

“5. De­spite the strong stand of the Pres­i­dent in the drug war, we are los­ing on the le­gal front. Some 80 to 90 per­cent of drug cases are be­ing dis­missed. Our crim­i­nal jus­tice is fucked up be­cause of un­eth­i­cal lawyers, cor­rupt judges and pros­e­cu­tors. Cases are com­pro­mised at their lev­els.

“6. The bat­tle against il­le­gal drugs will never be won in the streets, but ul­ti­mately in our homes. Our duty should be as shep­herds of our chil­dren and the guardians of our homes.

“7. Fi­nally, we would still fail if we con­tinue to put our trust only in men but not in God.”

* * * AD­VI­SORY: All Postscripts from 1997 to the present can be ac­cessed at manil­a­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter as @FDPas­cual. Email feed­back to fdp333@ya­ H

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