Preparati la bara! Terence Hillhow many addicts the Philippines has. Did President Duterte recently say “My Name is Nobody”? No, he just said “you do not contradict your own government” (link) and fired the head of the Dangerous Drugs Board for saying 1.8 million instead of Duterte’s 4 million.

Nobody knows the basis for Duterte’s 4 million. The number of so-called drug surrenderees in the over 42 thousand barangays is “only” a million (link), so will more come out of the woodworks? Could it be that they have to be driven out of there by the shots of pistols?

Numbers and Beliefs

The 1.8 million are based on a survey of DDB from 2015 with 5000 respondents (link) “of whom 4,694 (94%) said they never used drugs, while 306 (6%) used drugs at least once in their lifetime. Meanwhile, 113 (2.3%) were “current users” or used drugs..” 

The article continues: “Applying these rates to the 77.22 million people aged 10-69 in 2015, one can conclude that there are about 4.63 million people who used drugs at least once in their lifetime (6% of 77.22 million) and 1.8 million current users (2.3% of 77.22 million).”

Now if you go by Duterte’s negative view of people – there are enough Filipinos who think the same way – I can imagine the reasoning: “once an addict, always an addict”, so 4 million it is, BASTA SINABI KO! There are enough reports of evidence being planted, of people getting on the barangay lists and made to surrender inspite of not being drug users. Of course there is the typical Filipino mentality that refuses to believe in innocent until proven guilty. Guess the Church idea of original sin really stuck.

The Blameless Ones

are of course always the higher ups in the Philippines, and those who strive to bask in the glory of being the supporters of the current powers that be. Sinfulness is projected to the other side, and the danger of the other side is exaggerated while the own side can do no wrong. I wonder how many secret Muslims and Jews Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada estimated back in the days. Even converts were suspected of not being real Christians in his time. Somewhat like former drug users.

The next bogeyman is terrorism, but Philippine Graphic editor-in-chief Joel Pablo Salud very rightly warns:  (link): “terror organizations rely [on convincing] you that the government cannot be trusted”. So do crime organizations for that matter, recruiting in ghettos and among persecuted minorities. There used to be secret dialects in Europe, known as thieves’ cant (link) spoken by groups of people outside the walls of cities, deprived of the opportunities and the respect of being true citizens.

Acting With Sense

is to stop all the mad crusades going on and concentrate on dealing with things efficiently and rationally. Set priorities. Get the big fish first, and I don’t mean De Lima. Watch the small fish to get to the big fish. This can mean tapping phones and monitoring bank transfers – how about getting rid of excessive bank secrecy (link)? And last but not least build TRUST in the government and in the system. A hard sell. Everybody has to have personal knowledge of being respected. And having opportunities.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 27. May 2017