US-based Pinoys reaffirm full support to President Duterte’s drug war
At the same time, the newly formed Washington-based organization called US Pinoys for Real Change in the Philippines (USPRCP) announced the establishment of a fund drive for members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) killed in line of duty in the drive to eradicate the drug menace. The money will be donated to the bereaved families of the slain policemen.In an e-mail to this writer Thursday, the USPRCP through Grace Valera, one of the leaders of the group, said: “We declare that the pervasive drug problem is a Global Scourge in Our Time, and assert that it should be urgently and fully addressed in accordance with justice and the rule of law, and involving the international community and the partnership of the public and the private sectors to insure workable, lasting solutions.
“We therefore welcome Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s unprecedented and bold national leadership to prevent the Philippines from becoming a Narco-State, and we express our full trust and confidence in his total commitment to effect real change in the Philippine society.
“As a show of support for the Philippines’ Total Drug War Crusade, in line with the fight against the Global Scourge in Our Time, we hereby announce that USPRCP is establishing a Fund Drive for the families of the members of the Philippine National Police who are killed in the line of duty.”
The USPRCP noted with “profound concern that if the illegal drug trade in the Philippines amounted to USD8.4 billion in 2013, imagine how much more enormous is its worth today, making the drug war a dangerous and thankless task for all those fighting on the side of the Filipino people.”
The group also expressed their alarm that “international drug syndicates use the Philippines as a transit hub, and that the magnitude of the illegal drug trade is deep and wide-ranging, involving international drug cartels and their cohorts among people who have sworn to serve and protect the Filipino people.”
If left unchecked, the drug menace in the Philippines will damage the future of Filipinos generations, “ensnaring on a national scale millions of young Filipinos as users, and countless children used as drug pushers by criminal syndicates.”
The USPRCP said that it is a disturbing made by the United Nations (UN) in 2012 that the Philippines had the highest rate of methamphetamine (shabu) use in East Asia.
“We call on President Duterte to engage all branches of government and others in the private sector, as well as the international community, in attaining a worthy goal, and we wish him success in his unprecedented, bold national leadership aimed at bringing hope, peace and a better life for all Filipinos that would last for many generations,” it said.
The USPRCP further affirmed the following Essential Points of Unity:
1. Full support for the Total Drug War Crusade of President Duterte;
2. Full support for the observance of the rule of law and due process and respect for human rights;
3. Full support for respect for the principle of separation of powers;
4. Full support to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other Philippine Law Enforcement Agencies, and we acknowledge their service and sacrifices to protect the citizens and in helping rebuild the nation;
5. Full support for transparency, accountability and full disclosure of the actual number of killings in the drug war and full support for the investigation of the death of innocent civilians and bystanders, as well as extra-judicial killings;
6. Full support for public and private partnership in the construction of more drug rehabilitation centers nationwide that will provide safe and decent lodging and environment to drug users who have voluntarily surrendered to authorities;
7. Full support for the immediate arrests and prosecution of drug lords and their cohorts;
8. Full support for addressing the root causes of the drug problem by adopting a Basic Needs Approach focused on Food, Jobs, and Housing;
9. Full support for ending bureaucratic corruption, and the arrests and immediate prosecution of officials from the different branches and agencies of the government involved in corruption, and
10. Full support for the Peace Talks to bring an end to the internal armed conflicts in the Philippines.
The US-based group also expressed grave concern that the drug menace is a pandemic problem that has reached both urban and rural areas in the Philippines in geometric proportions, adding that “it has become a national cancer that has afflicted men, women, young and old, rich and poor, specially the marginalized and powerless sectors of the nation.”
The USPRCP called on all sectors to unite, to effect real change in Philippine society.
“We call on others to join us in expressing constructive criticisms with the end in view of proposing solutions, instead of engaging in political posturing and advancing a divisive agenda,” it added.
The group also cited the need to adopt a comprehensive approach to the drug problem involving the creation of social, economic and health programs for the victims; and within the context of human rights, rule of law and due process.