THE new administration's war on drugs may linger in the next six years, this means that alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings will become a new norm despite its legal and moral implications within the human rights sector both local and international.
Foreign observers believe that the illegal drugs addiction in the country is a health issue other than a subject for law enforcement, that is why at the parallel onset of the state's policy on "tokhang" and "double barrel," the government through concerned agencies are strengthening community rehabilitation centers.
By the way, "tokhang" or "toktok-hangyo," originated in Davao City by which the police would do rounds of visits in the communities to knock doors and "plead" to the houses of those suspected drug users to discontinue the use of drugs and help cooperate locate big-time illegal drug traders. Over time, it evolved and its meaning become synonymous with shootouts and deaths.
Going back to community rehabilitation centers, the Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga (Masa-Masid) was launched by the barangay council of Bulua in Cagayan de Oro last May 17, with the support from government agencies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority, and the City Social Welfare Development Office.
Masa-Masid, which means citizens against anomalies and illegal drugs, primarily aims to help drug dependents through interventions that will keep them away from using illegal drugs become "better and responsible citizens."
Programs like these are reactionary or responsive to the president's priority policies, had our president today has more interest in agriculture or foreign trades, reflective programs will also be launched. But since it is there already, this community rehabilitation programs should be sustainable, even if that means there will be a new sitting president.
This is the problem sometimes, government agencies and local governments often launch programs based on the president's priority mandates, but on the long run it can either be dissolved or abandoned to the point that no one will take responsibility in handling these programs.
But this time, community rehabilitation programs should work, and it takes the whole community to make it running. Drug dependence is not only for a time being, it do have effects on people who are addicted to illegal drugs, and "band-aid" or "lip service" programs would only make it worse.
And if this rehabilitation program is going to be a success, the next to be concerned of are illegal drug traders. These are the big fishes who seldom get caught and persisted even to this date, much for the reason why "tokhang" is criticized for only zeroing in mostly on the poor and not really the main source of these drugs.
Illegal drugs persisted because drug traders are still doing its usual routine, partly because even inside the government and police force they have accomplices. Because there is money in illegal drugs and it is big time, imagine it can influence politicians and the lesser gods of this planet.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 24, 2017.