Recent developments in the war on illegal drugs, according to the authorities, signify the start of a new and critical phase in the anti-drug campaign.
Success in this new engagement could make all the difference in the success of the entire struggle. It is vital for the whole society to stand behind the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the prosecution of the war.
The new developments are almost too much to digest in one sitting:
1. President Rodrigo R. Duterte no less startled the nation with the revelation that Columbia cartels may also be operating in the country now.
2. PRRD released a new list of politicians and public officials who are allegedly involved, or colluding, in the illegal drugs trade. The narcolist names 46 politicians and public officials, many of whom are running for election in the midterm polls in May.
The list will be followed by a further disclosure of the names of judges, prosecutors, entertainers and media personalities who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
3. PDEA announced on Wednesday that it has seized 166 kilos of shabu worth P1.1 billion from a rented house in Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City.
4. PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino told the media that the authorities suspect the P1.1 billion cache of drugs may have come from the notorious Golden Triangle region.
5. PDEA seized blocks of cocaine found earlier on the coastlines of Quezon, Siargao, Dinagat Islands and Camarines to distract authorities from the entry of a bigger transshipment of drugs.
The confiscated drugs in Ayala-Alabang tell a lot about what is happening. Drugs previously seized in anti-drug operations in Mindanao had the same packaging method.
Aquino said: “We have seizures somewhere in Mindanao that have the same packaging. That is why we have come up with an assessment that these drugs passed through our coastlines. This could be a case of ship-side smuggling coming from the Golden Triangle Region.
“Such is the signature of the Golden Triangle Region. There were seizures having the same [signature] of drugs coming from Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar. There is a big possibility that they also came from the Golden Triangle Region.”
The mention of both Columbia and the Golden Triangle underlines in black and white how serious the drug problem is in the country. It shows how huge the stakes are, and how calamitous the problem danger is.
It was Aquino who disclosed to the media that the drug war has entered a new phase that is critical in every way.
He explained that the drug campaign has shifted its focus to the supply of illegal drugs in the country, away from the earlier emphasis on the demand for illegal drugs by drug users and addicts.
In turning their attention to the drug supply, the authorities are going full throttle to stop the supply of drugs to the local market by the drug cartels, traffickers and pushers.
They are finally going after the drug syndicates in dead earnest.
The discovery of drugs in Ayala Alabang means the drug problem hits and affects all strata of Philippine society. From the slums to the condominiums, to the gated communities, the drug menace threatens everyone.
No one can be uninvolved in the fight against illegal drugs.
This is not just Rodrigo Duterte’s war. This is a war of all our people against illegal drugs.