PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s announcement that he is out to slay the “drug monster” without imposing martial law is a welcome development in the war against illegal drugs.
But the tough-talking Duterte, the first Mindanaoan to occupy the country’s top political post, asked the military to continue the fight against the drug menace if it would outlast him.
There have been suggestions from various quarters that the national government declares martial law to ensure the success of the nationwide anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Everybody agrees that the drug menace will destroy our children and the next generation of Filipinos.
The hard-hitting Duterte, whose six-year presidency ends at 12 noon on June 30, 2022, and even the country’s ordinary citizens admitted that “our children are not safe anymore.”
In fact, President Duterte noted that the illegal drug trade has already crept into the bureaucracy, with some barangay officials, many of them chairmen, are involved in the business.
“Kasi ang droga, within government (na) ang away ngayon…Paano ko makaya ito? Hindi naman ito madampot at patayin ko. Ayaw ko naman mag-martial law,” he added.
The Duterte government’s iron-fist approach in battling drug manufacturers, pushers, users and their protectors in state uniform has drawn the ire of human rights advocates.
But national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the approach should not be misinterpreted as authoritarianism.
“All I know is he (Duterte) is very strict and he is bent on enforcing the laws of the land. He’s a lawyer and he knows his limits,” said the retired military general from Pangasinan.
Doubtless, President Duterte means well and is determined to make the Philippines as drug-free country without declaring martial law.