DESPITE efforts by President Rodrigo Duterte to vociferously fight the drug crisis in the country, many still refuse to see its success. Whether they are guilty or not, the staggering numbers of people who have been killed cannot hide the growing level of violence and impunity in the country.
The gruesome photographs of blood-soaked corpses of alleged drugs suspects are constantly shown with headlines in various media outlets almost every day. This shows how there is a level of desensitization to the violence among a certain segment of the population.
But waging a punitive war on drugs also has consequences. It generates human rights abuses such as abusive and inhumane punishments. And as the number grows, so does the fear of the populace for their own lives.
While Duterte and his hard stance on drugs received high approval ratings, a majority of Filipinos are worried that they or anyone they know would fall victim to such killings.
The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that 8 out of 10 adult Filipinos or 78 percent of 1,500 respondents fear getting killed in the drug war.
The poll, conducted from Dec. 3 -6, also showed that 39 percent of the respondents consider the issue of extrajudicial killings as “very serious.” For 71 percent of the respondents, it is “very important” that drug suspects are caught alive.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has asked the public for indulgence after admitting that the killings might continue. He vowed that the police will be relentless in its war on drugs.
“Andyan na tayo. Kung merong mamamatay dyan, pasensya na po dahil hindi kami humihinto sa aming trabaho. Hangga’t nandyan ‘yung problema, we will continue confronting that problem. Hindi po mahihinto ito. We cannot guarantee you na walang mamamatay dahil in every action, there is a corresponding reaction. (We’re already here. If there are people killed, forgive us because we won’t stop doing our job. While the problem persists, we will continue confronting that problem. This will not stop. We cannot guarantee you that there will be no more deaths because in every actions, there is a corresponding reaction,)” the police chief said.
Dela Rosa earlier has asked for forgiveness from the public on behalf of the police and the government for the killings. Dela Rosa asked the public to pray for the 160,000-member police force so God would forgive them for killing people.
This brutal anti-drug crackdown is painstaking and often thankless. Perhaps what it needs is to re-assess the problem and propose policy recommendations for a radically different approach—one that will not inflict fear among the citizenry but ignite civic participation instead. (AJPress)

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