Holistic approach to drug problem needed
The resumption of “Oplan Tokhang” under new police guidelines looks good and an apparent improvement on paper. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
We hope that matters of course like respecting human rights and faithfully following rules of engagement in any police operation will actually be observed on the ground.
The problem before was not only the slothful shortcuts or outright violations in due process nor the brutality and cruelty, if not unreliability, in the methods of neutralizing the suspected or labelled drug users or pushers.
The problem was also in the unequal application of the law and discrimination between the poor petty hoi polloi and the rich powerful lord.
And impunity for such lapses, excesses and abuses should be addressed. There must be credible and certain accountability for past transgressions by anybody.
For after all, it is the state that has the legal, political and moral responsibility to protect its citizens against abuses and attacks on the rights most especially of the multitudes who are innocent.
We do hate drugs. There can be no two minds about this. We despise and abhor its pernicious effects on our youth, communities, schools, nation and society.
Ultimately though, without a holistic approach to the drug problem, any mere police response will not decisively solve its roots and prevent its recurrence like a hydra-headed monster that refuses to die.
EDRE U. OLALIA, president,
EPHRAIM B. CORTEZ, secretary general,
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
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