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Rehabilitating rather than killing

The government should shift more into eliminating the drugs itself and concentrate more towards healing and rehabilitation rather than killing. In fact, eliminating the drug lords, drug pushers, without eliminating the essential which is the drug itself, gives rise to more drug leaders, more corrupt policemen, more violence.

The church gives due respect to the person and Office of the President. Some members of the church even support the government’s policy, especially on the menace of drugs and they identify it with the sincerity and good intentions of the President. Others opined, however, that Duterte’s desire to get rid of illegal drugs opened a Pandora’s box of bloodbaths and killings. Obviously, after more than seven thousand deaths, citizens are beginning to decide more and more against extrajudicial killings.

One recent survey says: “Despite the strong support for the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, 71%, or a majority of respondents, said they find it “very important” that drug suspects be arrested alive by police personnel.” Moreover, more that 60% of Filipinos did not vote for Duterte.

It is disturbing that the President encourages policemen to kill their prey through incentives and promises of presidential pardon. Of course, this latter promise does not hold water inasmuch as the presidential term of office is limited only to six years, (unless he declares Marial Law and remains in power) and murder cases could be filed even after that. Pardon is possible only to actual criminals, not potential ones. In fact, in the same survey, only 4 percent of Filipinos fully agree with extrajudicial killings.

The majority of Filipinos, though silent, do not like the killing of their co-citizens causing a lot of orphans. Filipinos believe in the sanctity of human life. Human life is absolute and no government could claim true development if it does not respect the very life of the citizens whom it wants to serve. Our Constitution guarantees this.

The drug’s menace is just a symptom of a deeper problem which is poverty. Although the solution is not that simple, one does not eliminate poverty by killing the poor people. It is now clear that addiction is more of a sickness, rather than a crime. Cure the cause of the sickness and the symptom will disappear. The church is the President’s ally in this. In fact, there are many programs, implemented by the church for the poor, and rehabilitation centers, even before Duterte was elected president. The church does these in order to defend and affirm the dignity of human person’s life as enshrined by our Constitution.

The church wishes to help in what is true, good, noble and beautiful in the government's policy. She wants to be an ally, but she will continue to defend the lives of her flock (including that of their leader) and proclaim the mercy of God to all even to the one who is in authority like that of our president.

Perhaps he is clueless but the church would like to help him succeed so that every Filipino, and public servant, any drug addict or pusher could be aware of their own immense dignity as a child of God. First published in CBCP News

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