Duterte officials’ paranoia is ‘singularly myopic’
I would like to refer presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and other officials of government, who have negatively reacted to the widely covered daily consultations Vice President Leni Robredo has been having with local agencies of government, to Articles IV, V, VI and VII covering Sections 41 to 53 of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
As a college lecturer on Philippine Government and Development, I make it a point to focus on these specific provisions of the dangerous drugs law to help the students learn through education how they can constructively participate in helping prevent the proliferation of illicit drugs through the rule of law and human rights. The provisions envision an inclusive and multistakeholders’ approach in addressing this global menace.
When VP Leni finds cooperation from the local agencies of government in addressing illicit drugs, it is perhaps that they are all on the same page—understanding fully how important it is to coordinate and synchronize work together in liberating the local communities of school, government, church and workplace from the dangers of drug trafficking and addiction.
Similarly, when the Vice President consults the US state department and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (whose mandate is to help member states address transnational crimes as illicit drugs, crime and terrorism), it is precisely because we are a member state of the UNODC, and illicit drugs are a global problem. It would be the height of naiveté to ignore the relationship between global drug trafficking and its impact on the quality of life in our villages today.
The paranoia exhibited by Panelo and those who behave similarly in government lest the Vice President endanger national security by revealing the confidential list of syndicated drug lords is singularly myopic, with the mental horizons of a bed mite.
As reiterated the world over, the UNODC’s mandate is the prevention and reduction of all forms of violence and abuse, which should be at the heart of any agenda that fully recognizes the “centrality of human security, both as a human rights imperative and as a development perspective.” This is how we understand the vision of the Vice President. As Filipinos who are steadfast in defending the rule of law and the right to life, we must therefore support VP Leni fully and give intelligent criticism, when necessary.
LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, special lecturer, School of Diplomacy and Governance, De La Salle College of St. Benilde
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