Rise and fall of narco-communities

The country’s anti-drug czar, no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, must have seen last night’s episode of ABS-CBN’s XXX. Perhaps she might consider getting the services of ABS-CBN’s program researchers and reporters!

The XXX episode narrated how an XXX asset (Does the network pay its asset?), with a secret camera, penetrated to a community of drug sellers, users, and supporters. As I watched, I feel the need to name such community. I think it is best to call it, narco-community!

The same episode also described how people of the entire community connived on selling and marketing drugs. There were guides for those who wish to enter a drug den; some individuals served as guard, trying to check their customer. Some areas are for customer (called as scorers) and one area is restricted to outsiders. It has this sign: Bawal ang scorer.

Shabu was sold like just another kind of commodity; drugs paraphernalia (aluminum foil strips) are sold in sari-sari store. The spy camera caught several men, some women, old and young, who were actively conniving on their narco-community activities. I appeared that they were doing the normal thing.

Narco-communities develop their own narcotics culture!

To make the episode spicy, XXX team went to Cavite police. With close coordination with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Cavite police surprised the Imus narco-community! As expected, the police was shocked to what they seen, the mayor was equally surprised!

Really surprising? Or we need to get surprised to dramatize everything?

I don’t think the country’s anti-drug czar will get surprised!

I was not surprised. Why? This is not something new. Narco-communities don’t just thrive in Pasig (remember shabu tiange?) nor in Cavite. Narco-communities exist anywhere!

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Just a social user: No big deal?

The war against dangerous drugs is the most dangerous job.

The entrapment operation of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on September 20, 2008 that caught young and affluent drug suspects will prove the risks of the job. The wealth and political connections of so called Alabang Boys has became the greatest threat of honest drug enforcers of PDEA.

Let the money moves. Let political influence change things. Behold wealthy suspects, you’ll soon be free!

I don’t wonder why the Alabang Boys appear so confident and relax. They know wealth and influence can save them.

One of the parents admit that he knows that his son is using drugs. He said, (my son) is a social user but not an addict. It’s no big deal.

If all of the parents of 6.7 million drug users in the Philippines think the same way, the war against drug in the country will not prosper. (Data based on 2004  survey of Dangerous Drugs Board)

The admission of one of the parent that his son is a drug user will show the kind of father he is. If he already knew that his son uses drugs, why he did not make a move before the PDEA caught his son?

It’s a big deal!

The fight against drugs is not only on the hands of the authorities. It has also become part of the responsibilities of parents, and all family members.

The Alabang Boys should remind us that the depth of drug problem in the country is too deep for our authorities to penetrate.

Narco-politics begin to manifest in public.

Narco-politics, Narco-terrorism in the Philippines

The idea of narco-politics cannot be ignored. It is a major concern. Actually we have been receiving reports that political candidates are behind the operation of certain shabu laboratories to raise funds for the coming elections, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Gen. Dionisio Santiago, Jr. told reporters.

The involvement of some politicians in drug trading is already a proof that narco-politics existed in the Philippines. There are even reports that some terrorist groups are also involved in drug syndication in the country to finance terroristic activities  – thus we have the term, narco-terrorism.

According to PDEA intelligence reports, secessionist groups and other terrorist cells are involved  in illegal-drug operations. Recent anti-drug operations strongly link these groups to the illegal drug trade.

Narco-polititics and narco-terrorism are the major challenge of PDEA. Recently, PDEA officials warned politicians seeking elective posts in the 2010 elections against sourcing campaign funds from supporters involved in illicit drug trade.

PDEA, according to reports, receive information that some politicians who have plans to run in 2010 are receiving campaign funding from drug lords.

This indicates the existence of narco-terrorism in the country. We have been on the alert for this. It is highly probable that these groups are behind large-scale illegal transactions nationwide, Director Santiago added.

Narco-politics also alarmed the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP chief Director General Jesus A. Verzosa yesterday said the organization shares the concern of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when it comes to “narco-politics.’’ Journal Online reported. Verzosa added, narco-politics is not new. It has happened in the past and it can happen again if law enforcement and the community lower their guard on drug syndicates.

Let us all support PDEA and PNP’s all out war against narco-politics and narco-terrorism.

Narco-politics and the 2010 Elections

Election in the Philippines is very expensive. To run for national or even local positions, one has to spend millions of pesos. This is one of the reason of the emergence of narco-politics. Drug lords would finance the election campaigns of political candidates for obvious reason – protection of drug syndicate.

Felix Mediavillo of The Manila Bulletin Online reports, narco-politics has apparently found its way in the Philippines following reports that big-time drug lords financed the campaign of several elected officials.

In 2007 local election, the term narco-politics became clear to me when Dilaab Foundation (Cebu) launched an advocacy against it. The tag line was very popular then, Ayaw Ipalusot Kandidatong Shaburakot. The advocacy of Dilaab Foundation gained momentum especially to the youth.

I recalled narco-politics when I attended the Cebu Bloggers Meet-Up organized by Janette Toral and Max Limpag, and hosted by Sun Star. Janette Toral presented insights on how bloggers can actively participate in the 2010 presidential elections. She stressed the crucial role of bloggers to promote transparency in Philippine elections. Electoral transparency is a prevailing issue which affects the political stability of our nation.

I agree. A blogger can participate and effectively communicate ideas to shape opinions so that voters can have a wise decision whom to vote for.

I foresee that the issue of narco-politics will then be more visible in the synchronize local and presidential elections.

The area of concern is to communicate to voters on the nature of narco-politics, the ways the means to identify the candidates who are supported by narcotic syndicate. I think with the help of Dilaab Foundation, this can be very feasible. This way, no voter can be decieved!

Today is a good start to prepare for an election that will shape our nations destiny.

JGG|Mandaue City
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