Marcos vows to learn from experiences of Duterte admin on drug war

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Marcos vows to learn from experiences of Duterte admin on drug war
Incoming Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr (L) and outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte (C) take part in the inauguration ceremony for Marcos at the Malacanang presidential palace grounds in Manila on June 30, 2022. The son of the Philippines' late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was to be sworn in as president on June 30, completing a decades-long effort to restore the clan to the country's highest office.
Francis R. Malasig / Pool / AFP

NEW YORK, United States — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants the enforcement of the campaign against illegal drugs to be more focused, saying law enforcers should run after people who will "make a difference" in the narcotics supply when caught or sent to jail.

Noting that the drug problem continues to exist in the country, Marcos said enforcement, the component of the drug war pursued most vigorously by former president Rodrigo Duterte, "only gets you so far."

"What we can do is to examine and learn lessons from the experience from the past administration," the president said during a forum organized by the Asia Society last Friday here.

"The corrosive effect of that on society, on criminality, on the drug syndicates, et cetera, even the politicization of the whole drug syndicates and (their) networks is something that we still have to deal with," he added.

Marcos said the drug menace is "significant" as there are close to 4.5 million actual addicts in the Philippines.  

"And so perhaps we should look (at other aspects), instead of just enforcement, which will continue but in a more focused way... When I first came to my first command conference with our policemen, and I said we (would) adjust. Let us adjust our focus," the president said.

Marcos said his administration's drug war consists of three elements namely enforcement, prevention and cure.

"Now as to the enforcement, to put it very bluntly, I simply told them, (police) 'Look I’m not interested in the kid who makes 100 pesos a week selling weed.' That’s not the person that I want you to go after," he said.

"I want you to go after people who - if we get them, if we neutralize them, or put them in jail, we put them away, whatever it is will make an actual difference so that the supply of drugs, the system of distribution, the system of importation of drugs because much of it really does come from abroad. That will actually make a difference, it will put a stop to it. And that’s what we are working on right now."

Marcos said prevention involves educating young people about the negative consequences of illegal drugs.

"Let us (educate) our young people to say that you know this is a dead end. This will get you absolutely nowhere. It will get you put in jail. It will get you killed. And even if it does not do that, this will take away your future," he said.

Cure, meanwhile, is about becoming more sensitive and more sympathetic to those who actually have gotten caught up in this lifestyle. And so that is something that we are now promoting.

"We are trying to learn which are the best methods now to pull our victims...pull them out of that culture and to help them start again and do live a good life as good and constructive members, contributing members of society," Marcos said.

Some 6,000 suspected drug offenders died during the presidency of Duterte. Various groups have criticized Duterte over his brutal drug war but the former president had said the crackdown was necessary to protect the next generation.

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