February 1, 2023

The Department of the Interior and Local Government through Sec. Benhur Abalos Jr., Jr. announced it is recalibrating the way the government is dealing with the drug problem.
Abalos said the so-called “war against drugs” will still push through although it will no longer concentrate on the killing aspect but rather on the rehabilitation aspect.
Under this system of combating the drug menace, the thrust will be education and rehabilitation. Accompanying this is the proposal to de-criminalize drug use since presumably, users are as much victims as the society that tolerates their existence.
The new approach being hatched by the DILG remains to be based on generalities that provide no further details on how the more lenient way of dealing with the drug menace is going to be implemented. What is promised is that there will be less killing. Yet, as early as now, the citizenry is wondering whether or not the plan sought to be implemented will work.
The past administration was simple but brutal on how it dealt with drug-related problems. Personalities who were associated with the drug trade or drug use were eradicated with impunity. No ifs and no buts. They were killed, killed, and killed.
As a result, several high profile and not so high profile individuals were assassinated, hanged, mutilated or vanished without a trace. Without a regard to due process, they were killed without any hesitation or explanation.
In some way, there was something wrong with this. It spawned more problems than it did solutions. The death of so many persons under created an atmosphere of fear, foreboding and suspicion. Instilling fear became the primary weapon giving no second chance to those who were targeted.
Still, the atmosphere of fear was not enough to eliminate the drug menace. The drug trade persisted under the auspices of syndicates and the big time dealers continued to ply their ware. Only the small time dealers and the poor runners were killed.
This, therefore, created a sort of a crisis that led human rights group to cry foul amidst the killing. It led the International Criminal Court to lay down the plans to investigate the past administration about these alleged abuses. Suddenly, the tables were turned.
The administration that was waging a war against drugs was now the accused. It did not look good.
It is perhaps this thought of failure that prompted the new administration to adopt other ways and means to deal with the drug problem.
In a way, this is good since, notwithstanding the satisfaction expressed by majority of the Filipino people on how the past administration dealt with illegal drugs, the truth is, it did not succeed.
Maybe, with a more humanitarian approach and maybe, in involving other sectors of the society in seeking to rehabilitate instead of punish drug users, it might work this time.
The bottom line is that there is a continuing and concerted effort to solve the problem of illegal drugs.