"Our namby-pamby” war on drugs has failed: MP

THERE are lessons to be learned from the hardline approach to drug abuse being adopted by the Philippines because efforts in this country to end the drug trade and the resultant misery it causes for families, communities and whole societies are failing to stem the tide of needless destruction.

Though his actions are derided by many in the West, President Rody Duterte stood on an election platform of tackling the scourge of drugs, particularly crystal methamphetamine or "shabu", and he has done what he promised to do.

What's more, his actions are effective and there are reports that crime rates in metropolitan Manila are down 50%.

I am currently in the Philippines and I have met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives "Bebot" Alvarez to get a first-hand account of the approach.

The stuff about extra-judicial killings has been found to be nonsense. A recent report has shown there is no proof of extra-judicial killings. There have been isolated cases of vigilante action but no more so than what was seen under previous administrations.

While extra-judicial killings are out, it seems judicial killings may be in. There's a big push led by people like Speaker "Bebot" Alvarez and Senator Manny Pacquio (yes, the boxer) to reintroduce the death penalty and I am certain as day turns into night that drug trafficking and production will be one of the capital crimes that people will swing for.

I don't for one second advocate for armed politicians shooting drug traffickers in the street. I also do not believe President Duterte has done that despite some of the claims he has made. He's just blustering to look macho which is a big thing in Filipino society.

The point is, if we are serious about curbing the blight of drugs, we need to step up the fight. Our namby-pamby war on drugs has been a complete failure. We need tougher actions and stronger deterrents.

I would love to see a round-up of all known and suspected traffickers and producers and some serious questioning and interrogation by police. I would also like to see greater penalties for drug producers and traffickers (not the low-level dealers who are often addicts themselves).

And for the addicts? Families tell me time and again they need their children or loved ones to be forcibly placed into rehabilitation. The only other consequences are jail or death. The same people wah-wahing about Duterte's successful drug crackdown, would say forced rehabilitation was a breach of human rights.

Well, it isn't a human right to partake in substances which destroy your brain and turn you violent against others, especially loved ones and family. It is clear that we need strength to tackle our drug problem here in Australia.

So instead of western sneering at Duterte and the Philippines, perhaps we can learn from them.


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