KATOTOHANAN AT KINABUKASAN
Preventing a Narco-State
1. Inform the citizens about the narcotics problem in the country. It is not simply the drug victims, but more critical are the sources, the drug lords and syndicates, and their influence - in some government agencies and media. We are not just a market of prohibited drugs, we are also a trans-shipment point.
2. According to latest figures, over 1, 800, 000 Filipinos are afflicted with the drug problem, and around half of the crimes recorded are drug related or drug induced. The problem is true not just in Metro Manila, but also in the provinces.
Some stories of the problem:
* In one province in Luzon, the project of a high school alumni association is to finance the purchase and operation of drug testing facilities in the high school.
* According to one congressman from north, in the smallest town in his district (population 12,000) there is a drug problem.
* Some coastal towns in Bicol Region are drugs infested, since a lot of the drug are moved around by sea.
* Mindanao has the highest percentage of drug users. The problem is also not limited to the rich or middle class. A lot of our marginalized communities are afflicted with the drug curse.
* One of our employees who lives in one of the urban poor communities of Commonwealth tells us how the entire adjacent community and his own community take precautionary measures in the evenings when they go home from work because of the drug addicts. The streets they used to walk in the evenings from the main road to their houses are no longer safe in the evenings, so much so that they have to take tricycles.
* In another depressed community near our school, there is also a fear of the drug addicts, something that we never heard of in the many years that we have worked in the said community.
* In a lower middle/lower class community southwest of Marikina, drugs are sold practically openly in talipapas and small markets.
* Even rural depressed communities suffer from the curse drug addiction.
3. Our youth are prime targets. In a recent survey of our youth (age 7 to 21 - representing around 33% of our population or 25M), the following are some disturbing facts:
* The youth are prime targets.
* The lower class are again the victims.
* The upper classes are also victims, but in terms actual numbers, classes D and E will be much larger.
* The rural areas have a higher percentage, especially Mindanao.
4. We must investigate how deep the penetration is in the government in terms of officials being corrupted by narcotics money.
QUESTION TO ASK - NOT ACCUSATIONS:
a. How many have actually been convicted of drug trafficking/pushing? What is the percentage of convictions vis-a vis charges filed?
b. How effective is our anti-drug campaign in terms of implementation by law enforcement agencies?
c. What credence is there to the persistent impression that some men in uniform are actually involved in drug pushing?
d. What is the influence of drug money in the outcome of the past elections?
5. What is the global drug problem? How does the Philippines compare to Columbia? What are the parallels between the Philippines and Columbia?
Does this show us that there is a clear and present danger of our becoming a narco-state?
6. We need to empower our citizenry not to just passively and helplessly observe with a victim mentally. We need to organize and must desire toorganize our communities, schools, clubs, associations, parishes, etc. and coordinate nationwide to combat this evil. Katotohanan will provide support by doing research, preparing materials and forming a speakers' bureau.
7. In a sense, this is not just about drugs, but it is also intertwined with the problem of poverty. Th greatest victims of the drug problem are in the poorer regions, the lower classes as the statistics show in the youth survey cited above.
Domination or Organized Criminal Syndicates/Groups
The drug trafficking, kidnapping for ransom, summary executions and money laundering cannot happen on a wide scale without a criminal infrastructure, so to speak,. In place. In short, the influence of organized crime has increased due to the penetration of these elements in our institutions.
Corruption in governemnt is very much related to the influence of organized crime.
The present allegations against Senator Lacson, if they are to be established as true, show the extent of organize crime's influence over or domination of some government agencies/institutions and society as a whole.
The case of the alleged Kuratong baleleng rubout is a clear warning to us
Focusing on the Investigation of Senator Lacson
We appeal to the senate to focus on the investigation of the allegations of Col. Corpus with regard to Sen. Lacson's involvement in several crimes - summary executions, kidnapping for ransom, drug trafficking and money laundering. WE NEED TO ARRIVE AT THE TRUTH ABOUT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND WE NEED JUSTICE FOR ALL. If Col. Corpus is wrong, then he should be made accountable for his mistakes - which are serious mistakes, if indeed they are, if Sen. Lacson is guilty, then he must be made accountable.