With the Philippine illegal drug industry in billions annually, it is no wonder top officials, media, celebrities, etc are collaborators, if not protectors of drug peddlers.
Starting off with drug lords, it is no surprise they promised 50M pesos (roughly 1M USD) to assassinate the president. If they are willing to dispose of that much, how much is the industry worth?
The anti-drug campaign led to around 745,000 users and pushers surrendering. Using the turnover rate 0.7 % of the Philippine population, for the US to have the same surrenders, the number has to be in the range of 2.3M citizens to voluntarily give up. For China to have drug surrenders, it would have to count to 9.6M Chinese to turn themselves in. No percentage in any country has yet to match the turnover in the Philippines. It is the latest benchmark to measure a country’s sincerity against banned substances.
The only assurance this can give tourists and visitors is the country is setting itself drug-free. The street I live on was notorious for more than 3 decades for crazed drug addicts. They have been very behaved since their door was knocked on with visiting police doing drug rounds/inspection. Just like that, they shaped up.
Money has certainly been the target of peddlers targeting my neighbors. Earning a month’s salary in a day or two, many in poor Philippines would go the drug selling route. The low monthly salary of 11000 pesos (245 USD) is not a deterrent to partaking users, as they account for above 70 percent of rehabilitated users.
Even Brazilian models are caught in the Philippines being drug couriers. The money would have most likely enticed these unbelievably beautiful people. It is not impossible for them to be the playthings of the wealthy drug lords. Even college students are vulnerable, with ecstasy tablets discreetly offered by unlikely dealers in high end bars and clubs.
Current Philippine influential people have been linked to drug misdemeanors. 5 generals have been called out by the president, along with a former Justice secretary (who absolved a gun-wielding case against her lover), several mayors and local officials, a radio DJ, sexy actresses, etc.
Then congressman Ronald Singson even got charged with possession of cocaine a few years back. No sanction given, and an insult to the tax of the Filipino, sustaining a druggie leader.
Shabu (poor man’s cocaine) is a popular drug among use in bus and taxi drivers doing long hours. It keeps the user awake for hours especially those on provincial routes, or long shifts. Money would flow in as these people have already become dependent, and use it for work.
The deceased Jesse Robredo, a man about to expose and fight the illegal drug menace he has discovered, is most likely murdered by drug-money benefactors. He was little featured on TV, despite the links to narcopolitics in the memo he released 10 days before his death. He could be turning in his grave; if he knew who his wife is dealing with now.
Media is also protecting a lot of top people whose reputation may be tarnished with drugs. Former Pres. Aquino declined to comment regarding several controversial instances, and there were no follow-ups despite being a high profile issue. Philippine media is also one in promoting the theme of “patayan” or just a killing/slaughter due to the drug war. They never covered certain stories: such as lives of addicts, the family left by a murdered-by-user, how addicts turned into the strays roaming the streets, how wealthy and powerful drug lords kill those they wish. Along with the Commission on Human Rights, media would focus on the theme of “murdering” the helpless, defenseless drug peddlers who should not be killed, even if these destroy the lives of the buyers.