In a statement, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) urged the PDEA to focus on its mandate to arrest drug lords rather than spending time and resources to ban a song, which may be open to different interpretations.
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‘PDEA move to ban song ridiculous’
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A group of artists yesterday called on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to leave the music industry alone, describing the agency’s move to ban a rap song about drugs ridiculous. 

In a statement, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) urged the PDEA to focus on its mandate to arrest drug lords rather than spending time and resources to ban a song, which may be open to different interpretations. 

The anti-narcotics agency earlier asked the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mangaawit and ABS-CBN Corp. to stop the distribution of the song “Amatz” by musician Shanti Dope.

The PDEA said the song should be banned as it apparently promotes the recreational use of illegal drugs. 

The CAP, however, said the song is open to different interpretations and that the people should be free to debate its merits. 

“Within the span of the song, it raises a debate of synthetic drugs versus natural drugs, or should one even do drugs at all? The earlier part even hints at how music holds the potential to keep young people from addiction,” the group said. 

“One thing is clear: it is not the PDEA’s job to be a music critic. Neither is it mandated to promote censorship and the suppression of artistic expression,” it added. 

The group said the discourse of drug use and addiction is best debated in an atmosphere of freedom, honesty and interdisciplinary cooperation. 

“With this move tantamount to censorship, the PDEA actually runs the risk of degrading the quality and integrity of the national conversation on the subject,” the artists said. 

“We warn the PDEA: leave the cultural commentary to the musicians, the fans and the public at large. Instead, focus on your mandate to jail the big drug lords who still roam free,” they added.

The CAP questioned why the agency is wasting money on picking on a rap song when no less than the President admitted that the country’s drug problem has worsened.

“As long as the chief purveyors of illegal drugs remain, so will the culture of drug use and the social illness of addiction — and cultural expressions like music are mere reflections of this,” it added. 

PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY SHANTI DOPE
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