PCTC PAPER ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

 

 

I. THE PROBLEM

 

            The underworld has virtually taken a new role in the geopolitical order with the establishment of a semi-ideological institution known as “narcocracy“[1]. It replaced communism as the new threat to democracy and to the political, social, economic and military security of individual states.  It has subtly invaded almost all countries of the world and is now actively participating in running the economic and political affairs of some states to the extent of dictating courses of action of governments or worst, monopolizing the administration of government.

 

            Narcocracy has established an “underground empire which has more power, wealth and status than many nations.  It flies no flag on the terrace of the United Nations, but it has larger armies, more capable intelligence agencies, more influential diplomatic services than many countries do”[2]. It relies solely on underground capitalism with profit as its primary orientation and drugs as the main subject of commerce.  Its strategy is bribery directed against those occupying sensitive positions in government or participating in political exercises by shouldering the bulk of the financial requirements of political parties.  Its social activity is giving off dole outs in the form of money with the end in view of influencing decision making or exerting pressure on concerned personalities to further their interests.

 

            By and large, narcocracy is the resurrection of communism for it employs practically the same strategy adopted by the former Soviet Union in extending the iron curtain to the Eastern European Countries, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  It combines the domino doctrine and the manifest destiny in penetrating the very seat of government of sovereign states and employ the most subtle of all tactics to evade the scrutinizing eyes of law enforcement agencies.  Thus, it portrait itself as a pressure group or an interest group or combine legitimate business with drug trade.  But as it expand its operation, it undermines the national power of the legitimate government to the extent of incapacitating the same in the performance of its function including the delivery of basic services to its constituents.  It is at this point that government and the people themselves feel the adverse impact of this seemingly legal endeavor and begin to confront the same as a criminal activity.  However, in the assessment of the extent of the problem, the drug trade has already completed its task of criminalizing the bureaucracy from the most sensitive to the least recognized position in government.  Hence, a gargantuan task by few good men to boldly declare war on drugs has to be conceptualized.  For unless urgent and decisive measures are implemented, the drug trade will continue to flourish because there is practically no indication that it will disappear by itself[3].  If it remains unabated,

 

“it can threaten the very existence of our states, our people, our culture and deprive us of a civilized identity.  Hence there is an urgent need for an all out struggle against this calamity[4].”

 

II.  HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE DRUG PROBLEM

 

 

The drug trade dates back during the 16th century when Great Britain begun exploring new territories in the Far East in search for raw materials to sustain its industrial revolution.  It was in this exploration process, and in the acquisition of new territories, that the opium poppy and the Indian hemp were discovered to be abundant along the “fertile crescent”, extending from the Persian Gulf to the heart of China particularly in the Yunnan Provinces and then to the Indo-China territories.  This was originally  utilized for medical purposes by the Chinese and in religious ceremonies by the Buddhists.  The commodity was then regularly exported  to Great Britain and because of its sedative and addiction effects, was utilized mostly by British soldiers in their wars with other colonial powers of Europe.

 

The increasing demand for this commodity prompted Great Britain to further pressure China to cultivate and produce opium as a major crop primarily for export.  However, China recognizing the adverse effect of the commodity on the populace if unregulated and abused,  passed an Imperial Decree regulating and limiting the production and utilization of opium.  Hence, it has to turn down the request of the British government. What followed was the imposition, by the latter, of military sanctions forcing China to declare war on Great Britain  known in history as the “Opium War”.  China was vanquished and has to accede to the terms and conditions imposed by the victor which includes among others the repeal of the Anti-Opium Law of the emperor,  increase in the production and exportation of opium and occupation by Great Britain of all the shoreline territories of China including Shanghai and Hongkong.  The drug trade flourished which encouraged other colonial powers to force their colonies to produce the same commodity. Macau and Indo-China were pressured to produce and exported opium to Portugal and Franch respectively until these colonial powers themselves begun to recognized the ill-effects of drugs on their own people. Laws were passed regulating the same until it was declared as illegal forcing the trade to go underground.  Thus the struggle against drugs and the drug trade begun.

 

III.                A)  THE INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE ON THE DRUG  TRADE

 

Most organized crimes have developed and transformed themselves into transnational criminal corporations with home base in their place of origin but operate illegally in other countries thereby transcending national boundaries hence, the term “transnational crime[5].”  These include the Italian Mafia, the Chinese Triads, the Japanese Yakuza, the American  Mafia, and Medellin and Cali Cartels of Columbia.  They deal primarily with drugs as a source of income to finance other criminal endeavors and utilizing extortion, corruption, blackmail, threat and use of physical force to facilitate their transactions.

 

The American Mafia which rose during the Prohibition period had been a marginal player in the cocaine industry and ultimately  decline largely because of its being very familiar  to law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system was invulnerable to intimidation and corruption and the  political system and police itself were professionalized.

 

On the other hand, the Medellin and the Cali Cartels of Columbia  prolonged with impunity their drug trafficking activities because their organization was comfortably built on the purchase of broad political influence, in addition to their successful intimidation of law enforcement authorities.  This allowed the principals to freely launder the proceeds of this crime to real properties within and outside Columbia and since the profit was enormous a systematic corruption and criminalization of the Colombian bureaucracy was effected.  The cocaine cartels even tried to distort the diplomatic policies of Columbia to the extent of offering to pay Columbia’s foreign debt of more than $10 billion if the extradition treaty between Columbia and the United States is abrogated[6].  The same scenario took place in Bolivia when one of its drug barons, Roberto Suarez Gomez offered to pay Bolivia’s foreign debt in exchange for the release of his son who was imprisoned in the United States on drug charges[7].  The Colombian Cartels were able to expand their activities to almost all the coastline countries of South America using precisely the same tactic that of criminalizing the bureaucracy by paying huge amount of money to bribe those occupying sensitive positions in government.  What is unique in Brazil was the fact that drug barons were able to effectively control the shanty towns of Rio del Janeiro known as “ghettos”[8]. Official government authority is eroded and can only be maintained by increasingly oppressive means.  The wealthy live in walled and guarded prison – like enclaves and become increasingly alienated from others less fortunate than themselves.  Corruption is widespread.  The police become persecutors, not protectors.  The agents of the state are seen as assassins.  The state becomes the enemy and the ghettos a state within a state.  The people are trapped in the crossfire.  The area is characterized by misery, extreme violence and death”[9]. In the trafficking of drugs to the United States and other countries, the cocaine cartels were able to assume a transnational corporation status largely utilizing Panama as a transhipment point, a country which was also placed at the mercy of the South American drug lords.  The Panama Canal is an ideal place for the transportation of drugs to different countries of the world since many ship frequently traverse the canal en route to the Asia Pacific and European Countries considering that 85% of world shipping industries are of Panamanian Registry.  The administration of Manuel Noriega benefited from that drug trade and  Noriega himself was charged by the United states as a drug baron causing the  invasion of Panama leading to his arrest to stand trial in the United States for drug trafficking charges.

 

In Europe, the Italian Mafia has grown from a local to a transnational criminal corporation generating  huge amount of income largely from the drug trade which ranges form $21.5 billion to $24 billion a year[10].  It has even forged alliances with Latin American and Russian Mafia establishing a transnational drug network that facilitates the movement of drugs from one country to another having favorable markets for this commodity.

 

Russia was the newest state to join the organization of drug inflicted countries with the establishment of the Russian Mafia which rose from the rubbles of the Soviet Union followed by political, economic and social unrest within what was left of the union.  Narcotics trafficking became a foundation of the global criminal power of organized groups generating and controlling 25% of Russian GNP[11].

 

Many countries of the world have been afflicted by the menace including Mexico, members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and some African countries.  Other states are vulnerable prey and will soon experience the scourge of drugs as transnational criminal corporations continue to establish strongholds in countries that offer favorable market and a favorable environment for drug investment and laundering of drug proceeds.

 

 

 

 

B.  INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGAINST DANGEROUS DRUGS

 

Even prior to the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 and its precursor, the League of Nation of 1919, international initiatives to arrest the proliferation of the drug trade was already in place.  Countries of Europe and Asia were gathered in Shanghai, China to explore regional cooperation on drugs in 1909 and their efforts were consolidated and finally ratified in 1912[12].  However, the agreement died a nature death as isolation and nationalism prevailed among European Countries manifested by military aggression and territorial expansion.

 

With the establishment of the United Nations, representatives of member states, recognizing the adverse effects of drugs, were able to consolidate national differences and arrived at generally accepted agreements and conventions which are enforceable in accordance with the constitutional processes and national laws of individual states. These were primarily designed to curve the spread of dangerous drugs and psychotropic substances.  These international laws on narcotics control are:

 

1.                   The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

 

     The 1961 Single convention on Narcotic Drugs is designed to prevent drug addiction through cooperation between and among states.  It provides among other things that “the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs is exclusively limited to medical and scientific purposes.  It is primarily designed to prohibit the abuse of drugs, prevent its diversion to other purposes not specifically mentioned which  would be injurious to health, establish an international system to guide signatory-states in penalizing violators of the convention, and institutionalized the  establishment of an International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to oversee the manufacture of drugs for purposes mentioned in the convention.

 

      Attached to this convention is a protocol ratified in 1972 amending the 1961 convention which obligate states to establish institutions that will provide treatment and rehabilitation of addicts and drug dependents.

 

2.           The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances

 

This international agreement calls on member states to initiate measures  to control the proliferation of advance forms of drugs such as pharmaceutical and synthetic drugs to include sedatives, hypnotic, psychostimulants, and hallucinogens and to establish measures to penalize violators of the agreement.

 

3.                   The 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

 

This convention rally member states to take necessary measures, including legislative and administrative measures, in conformity with the fundamental provisions of their respective domestic legislative systems to halt the spread of drugs and psychotropic substances.  It specifically prohibits the following:

 

a)   i)   The production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, offering,   offering for  sale, distribution, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, importation or exportation of any narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance…

 

ii)       The cultivation of opium poppy, coca bush or cannabis plant for the purpose of the production of narcotic drugs…

 

iii)   The possession or purchase of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substances…

 

iv) The manufacture, transport or distribution of equipment, materials or of substances.. knowing that they are to be used in or for the illicit cultivation, production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotrotreptin substances.

 

v)  The organization, management or financing of any of the offenses enumerated above.

 

b)      i)   The conversion or transfer of property, knowing that such property is derived form any offense or offences as mentioned above… or from an act of participation in such offense or offenses, for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the property or with assisting any person who is involved in the commission of such an offense or offenses to evade the legal consequences of his actions.

 

      ii) The concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to, or ownership of property, knowing that such property is derived from an offense or offenses established therein or from act of participation in such offense or offenses.

 

            Several governmental organizations accredited by the United Nations were established as operating arm in the fight against drug trafficking. Among these are: the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, International Narcotics Control Board, United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, Opium De-Addiction Treatment, Drug Abuse Prevention Programme, and many other related international organizations.

 

 

IV.    A)   THE REGIONAL ASSESSMENT OF THE DRUG TRADE

 

            The Southeast Asian Region is a “hot spot” in relation to the drug trade. Many  countries of the region are either producers, manufacturers and exporters of drugs and many organized criminal syndicates that deal on drugs originate from the region. China is a leading producer of opium poppy cultivated along the Yunnan Provinces and is also actively engaged in the manufacture and trafficking of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu”. The “Golden Triangle” which includes Burma, Thailand and Laos produce and manufacture opium and heroin. These products are also produced by Afghanistan, Pakistan and India including Nepal which cultivates Indian hemp along the Himalaya Mountains. Burma in particular openly cultivates opium poppy as a major cash crop and is one of the leading producers of this commodity in the world. On the other hand, cannabis (marijuana) is produced and exported from Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Indonesia.

 

            These drug crops are trafficked or smuggled to foreign countries particularly to those offering safe havens such as those with favorable market environment, weak criminal justice system, corrupt law enforcement, immigration and customs officials and politicians, and a weak border protection and immigration laws. These are the national conditions that favor the entry of transnational criminal corporations within their territories.  Thus, the Chinese Triads based in Hongkong,  which were established in China during the reign of the Ching Dynasty, specialize in the trafficking of drugs to different parts of the world.  These triads include the Wo Hop To, 14K, Sun Ye On, Wo Sing Wo, United Bamboo Gang, Four Seas Gang, and Big Circle Boys[13]. They generate huge profit from their drug trade and utilize the same to bribe officials of the host state to provide them with unhampered criminal operations.

 

            The Japanese Yakuza on the other hand is also an international criminal agent of drugs. It is divided into three groups: the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Inagawa-kai and the Sumiyushi-kai[14]. They are engaged in drug trafficking, smuggling of firearms, illegal gambling, money laundering, and sex trade. They are aggressively operating not only in the Asia-Pacific region but throughout the world.

 

B)  REGIONAL INITIATIVES TO ADDRESS THE DRUG TRADE 

 

Considering the horrible drug trade situation in Southeast  Asia, the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are continuously pooling their resources to effectively address drug trafficking. The member states recognize the fact that because of the transnational character of this menace, no single state in the region can effectively address the problem on its own initiative. They proposed a comprehensive regional approach to the problem which led to the intensification of dialogues among ASEAN members. Several ASEAN bodies were formed to address this threat  to include the ASEAN Chiefs of National Police (ASEANAPOL) which consolidate efforts of National Police Forces, enhance regional law enforcement cooperation and harmonize policing system in the region, the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) which focuses on drug related activities, and the ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting (AFMM) which is concerned with customs enforcement, anti-smuggling and money laundering.  Recently, the ASEAN Ministers of Interior/Home Affairs meeting was first hosted by the Philippines on December 18-20, 1997. The three day summit resulted in the signing of the ASEAN Declaration on Transnational Crime which includes the establishment of an ASEAN Center on Transnational Crime (ACOT) to coordinate regional efforts against transnational crimes through intelligence sharing, harmonization of policies and coordination of operations.

 

Several centers are also established to help in the resolution of this menace. Among these are the ASEAN Training Center for Narcotic Law Enforcement (Bangkok), ASEAN Training Center for Preventive Drug Education (Manila), ASEAN Training Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation (Kuala Lumpur), ASEAN Training Center for the Declaration of Drugs in Body Fluids (Singapore), and the ASEAN Center on Transnational Crime (Manila). 

 

The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) is also a regional agency that monitors and analyses developments and trends and prescribes plans, programs and policies for the advancement of harmonious relations within the Asia-Pacific. They conduct extensive strategic researches and international studies, the results of which are indispensable in  the formulation of legislative and administrative measures as well as national and regional policies.

 

 

III.                A) DRUG TRADE: THE PHILIPPINE EXPERIENCE

 

The drug problem in the Philippines is very serious than we realize it to be. Everyday, daily newspapers bombard us of drug pushers, users, traffickers, drug lords to include foreigners being apprehended by law enforcement authorities. Almost everyday also, we read or witness authorities proudly declaring the recovery of several grams or several kilos of shabu or marijuana including drug related paraphernalia or the burning of huge volume of drugs in police camps. We also witness many incidents of rape, killings and robberies and other heinous crimes perpetrated by drug-crazed individuals. Apart from these are more shocking news that the Philippines is being utilized as a transhipment point of drugs by transnational criminal organizations, that government officials are involved in the drug trade, that shabu laboratories are operating in the Philippines , and that shabu are being sold in ordinary stores like any other commodity. These, however, are just symptoms, visible signs or what we call the tip of the iceberg. Hidden from the naked eye is the horrifying menace: WE ARE  IN THE GRIP OF POWERFUL DRUG SYNDICATES.

 

Indeed, transnational criminal organizations such as the Japanese Yakuza and the Chinese Triads are actively operating in the country. Many of those apprehended by the law enforcement authorities are of foreign nationals specifically Chinese and Japanese and many of them are languishing in jail on drug-related charges. The recent controversy within the Philippine National Police was ignited by the arrest of big time drug lords like Rafael Madraso who is of a Filipino-Chinese decent, Vicente Sy,  Chua Hong Que alias Tony Chua, and Jimmy Hung Kin Sing alias Jimmy Ang who are all Chinese nationals.

 

No less than Commissioner Alejandro P Melchor III of the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission has specifically identified the extent of illegal drug activities in the Philippines as follows:

 

1.       The RP is a producer, exporter and consumer of cannabis plant-based drugs (marijuana, hashish, et al).

 

2.       The RP is an importer and consumer of synthetic drugs, in particular methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).

 

3.       The RP is a transit point for the international trade in heroin and cocaine.

 

4.       The RP is being used as a recreation place, an investment and money laundering haven, and a hiding place for international drug syndicates, some of whom envision it as a regional headquarters in the near future.

 

The drug menace has also infiltrated Malacañang, the seat of President Estrada’s government. Recently, two Malacañang employees were caught in the act of sniffing shabu within the Malacañang grounds. It confirms therefore that this menace operates under the very nose of our government and our law making the war against drug syndicates an urgent task of good and dedicated men.

 

B.         THE PHILIPPINE CONDITION FAVORABLE TO THE DRUG TRADE

 

Crimes thrive in societies suffering from social, political and economic crises. The Philippines is just starting to emerge from the economic slow down that has plague the Southeast Asian region accompanied by the rapid devaluation of the peso, closure of many multinational corporations and banks, rise in the prices of basic commodities and recently, the increase in the prices of oil. All of these definitely lead to unemployment, mass layoff  and poverty, a favorite breeding ground of the drug trade which is viewed as an alternative source of income. The devaluation of the peso has attracted drug lords to launder money into the country considering the high value of the dollar. The crisis has left the national treasury virtually bankrupt  prompting the government to call for nationwide fiscal stringency and went further to lessen the budget of operating agencies thereby adversely affecting the law enforcement campaign capability against drug trafficking.

 

To hasten economic recovery, the government is continuously inviting foreign investors and multinational corporations to do business in the country. The Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) of President Estrada seeks to alleviate the country’s poverty through liberalization, deregulation, and globalization to create a market-friendly environment for foreign investors. It is also concentrating a large amount of government funds to boost tourism in the country to attract foreigners. Apart from this, the government is attracting dollar inflow into the national coffer to help stabilize the peso. All of these offer a great convenience for transnational criminal organizations like the Chinese Triads and the Japanese Yakuza to enter the country under the guise of multinational corporations. This economic environment also encourage the influx of foreign criminals or members of the transnational criminal organizations into the country with ease masquerading as legitimate investors and tourists. This economic approach to social progress has also beef up the entry of illegal goods and services including drugs since laws on the movement of these commodities are being relaxed in the spirit of liberalization and deregulation. 

 

The banking system of the Philippines provides a very safe haven for proceeds from the drug trade. Philippine banks are among the most secretive in the world similar to Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Monaco, Cyprus, and the Netherlands Antilles but is not as secretive as Austria which allows anonymous bank accounts[15]. Philippine banks are not required to report suspicious currency transaction and may divulge bank accounts only upon lawful orders of the courts. Laws on the transport of Philippine currency are also very lenient. Thus, transnational criminal organizations take advantage of this banking environment because their funds will be definitely out of reach by law enforcement and BIR authorities.

 

Geographically, the Philippines is at the cross road between the Asian drug-producing and exporting countries and the Pacific drug-dependent countries. It is therefore strategically located making it vulnerable to transnational criminal corporations primarily as a transit point and at the same time a market for drugs. Apart from this is the archipelagic condition of the Philippines which is composed of many islands and islets scattered south of Taiwan and north of Borneo and Indonesia thereby creating a very long and broken coastlines around the archipelago. It is therefore very difficult and even very expensive to effectively patrol these coastlines rendering them virtually unguarded making it vulnerable to drug trafficking and smuggling.

 

On the other hand, the political system of the country including law enforcement is power  and not service oriented making professionalization difficult to introduce. Politicians and other government employees see themselves as masters and not servants of the people, a situation which is an open prey to graft and corruption. Enrichment in office is a primary motivation as manifested by the assets and liabilities of members of Congress as published in newspapers. This political environment aggravated by a meager salary is exploited by drug lords who have in their possession huge amount of money generated from the drug trade. Only "professional public servants" would reject the offer but many would sacrifice public service with self-interest. The recent developments within the PNP, even if it will not be proven to be true, is a classical example of how public officials are prone to bribery and how power can influence the course of an endeavor in favor of drug lords. According to a 1998 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released by the US Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, “ Philippine law enforcement efforts suffer from corruption of police, customs and military officials. Judicial corruption is also acknowledged to be an impediment to drug prosecutions”[16].

 

            The social condition of the people also offers a favorable drug market. Approximately seventy five percent (75%) of the country’s seventy four million (74 million) Filipinos are still living below the poverty line. As such, people are easily agitated to sow social unrest to call for social reforms thereby diverting attention of law enforcement authorities to this problem rather that threats from the outside primarily drug trafficking. The cravings for food and money drive individuals to ran errands for drug lords thus making the drug trade as a source of livelihood. Worst, children whose parents cannot afford to feed them sniff drugs to stop the hunger gnawing at their stomachs. Entertainers, drivers and conductors take shabu to let them stay awake and perform overtime works for additional incentives. Children of middle class, educated families take shabu during review and examinations thus increasing the clients of drug lords.

 

C)                  IMPACT OF THE DRUG TRADE ON PHILIPPINE

SOCIETY

 

The effect of the drug trade on Philippine society is very appalling especially if we rely on surveys and figures. Based on the assessment of the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center (NDLEPCC), 14% of the 42,979 barangays of the Philippines or a total of 6,020 barangays  are drug-infested[17]. In Metro Manila alone, 35% or 604 of its 1,692 barangays are under the control of drugs[18]. The drug users comprises approximately 5%  or 3.7 million of the 74 million Filipinos[19] of which according to the NDLEPCC echoing the survey of the National Youth Commission (NYC), 7% or approximately 1.2 million of the total youth population of 17 million ages 15 to 29 are drug users[20]. This figures will eventually increase if the drug trade remains unabated. It is probably from these data that prompted the PNP Narcotics Group to declare that the drug problem is the number one threat to national security[21] to include political, economic and social security.

 

The political security of the country will continue to be seriously undermined because of the corrupt values of people in government who are desperately in need of financial resources to sustain basic necessities aggravated by meager income. They will naturally succumb to temptations offered by drug lords who have huge financial resources at their disposal in return for unhampered drug activities. If this remains uncorrected, the drug lords will become even more powerful and can participate in governmental decision making or exert tremendous pressure on government officials to perform acts favorable to the drug lords but inimical to the general welfare. They can even secretly finance political parties or contribute to the campaign requirements of a candidate, such that if their favored candidate is elected, they can ask favor in relation to their activities which is sometimes difficult to turn down considering the well entrenched Filipino value of utang na loob. Drug lords can infiltrate social development initiatives of national and local governments through donations or contributions. In this way, they assimilate themselves with the people thus winning their hearts and minds conducive to exploitation.

 

Another area where drug lords can penetrate is the problem of insurgency and secessionism. The drug lords can finance the activities of these rebel groups to create social unrest or sow terror in order to shift government attention from the drug trade to this political problem. They can even utilize these rebel groups as agents of the trade or as instruments to encourage widespread addiction or intimidate the populace and force them to be drug clients or as protectors of their interests.

      

            On the other hand, the drug trade may create an imbalance resulting to inflation because of enormous profit laundered into the financial system not supported by currency or gold reserves. Criminal business becomes a leader subordinating legitimate businesses. This facilitates the transfer of ownership of productive assets into criminal hands leading to monopoly of crucial industries to a point where legitimate businessmen can no longer compete. This can lead to economic distortion because of massive pullout of capital from speculative investments. In an attempt to convert profit from the drug trade into clean financial assets to make it appear that it originated from legitimate business, other economic crimes are committed such as bank fraud, trading malpractice, tax evasion, and smuggling of raw cash across international borders, all of which can destabilize the national capital market.

 

            In threatening the social security of the state, drug trade takes its toll on the ordinary citizens ranging from drug addiction to other forms of criminal activities. The abuser definitely suffers short term and long term toxic effects including less productive life, drug dependence, mental, emotional and physical disorders and exposure to transmissible diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

 

            The family shares the agony to include violence against family members, child abuse, rape, poverty, separation of spouses, and definitely a broken family.

 

            The state on the other hand will be crippled of productive work force. Law enforcement authorities will be facing increasing volume of crimes from the most petty to the most bizarre. The Dangerous Drugs Board states that 75% of the crimes committed are attributable to drugs[22]. Apart from this is the responsibility of the government in rehabilitating drug addicts so that they will be assets when they return to society.

 

 

D)  PCTC’S PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM 

 

     

      The drug problem can be addressed through the following:

 

1.                   Inclusion of dangerous drugs and related subjects  as part of the regular curriculum of schools. This is a more down to earth solution to the problem founded on the idea that a person with strong character and determination will say no to drugs even in the face of all temptations. This will allow him to build up his will power and make him realize that only he and he alone can eliminate the drug habit and that he no longer needs to rely on drugs to enjoy the happy life he craves for.

 

2.                   Parental intervention based on the fact that parents exercise primary responsibility  in preventing their children from being hooked on drugs. Appropriate sanctions should be institutionalized and imposed on parents who fail to effectively exercise this primary responsibility.

 

3.         Devolution of the anti-drug campaign program of the government to the local government units. The mayors and barangay chairmen will lead their local policemen and barangay tanods, respectively, in clearing their territorial jurisdictions from the menace of dangerous drugs. This is very effective because monitoring of activities of their constituents can be undertaken. Thus, drug users and pushers including big time suppliers can be easily identified and the necessary remedies can be effected within their levels. National agencies with drug functions will act as monitoring agencies and exercise administrative control and supervision over the anti-drug campaign of local governments with power to recommend and impose administrative sanctions against local chief executives who fail to eradicate dangerous drug activities in their area.

 

4.                   The national dangerous drug agencies should coordinate with church leaders and cause-oriented groups to help in the anti-drug campaign. The church and civic leaders should help educate their constituents on the adverse effects of drugs and rally them to repudiate the proliferation of the menace and to help create an environment of vigilance against dangerous drugs.

 

5.                   The same national drug agencies should establish partnership with the tri-media to help in the information campaign against this menace. Dangerous drugs should be one of the subjects of TV hosts and advertisements, spearheaded by popular media personalities and sport stars, to create awareness on the ill effects of drugs and to motivate ordinary citizens to report drug related activities to proper authorities.

 

6.                   The national drug law enforcement centers and agencies will continue with their anti-drug activities to purge the society of drug lords and organized criminal syndicates specializing on drugs.

 

7.                   The Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC) will perform its mandated functions and specifically monitor and identify foreign nationals engaged in drug trafficking, identify foreign sources of drugs, trace movements of drugs from other countries to the Philippines, and gather data on how these drugs are able to enter Philippine territory without being detected by concerned authorities and agencies. The PCTC  will coordinate with regional and international organizations for a regional or international cooperation approach to this transnational crime to include the possible creation of a regional task force against dangerous drugs to facilitate apprehension of foreign nationals operating within the Southeast Asian Region.

 

8.             The PCTC will conduct a feasibility study for the adoption of a national policy or for the legislation of a suspicionless, random drug testing law for the sake of public safety and human productivity. The City of Manila has already started with this proposition by virtue of an ordinance passed by the City Council requiring a compulsory drug testing to all high school students to be conducted before enrollment. A national law should be passed similar to this ordinance which should apply not only to high school students but also to college students, government employees and all company workers. The law should also require drug testing for all electorates because drug abuse undermines an objective and intelligent decision on political issues. In this case, public health, public safety and national security in particular and the common good in general takes precedence over private rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

Chufrin, Gennady. 1998. “The Drug Trade: A New Security Threat to Russia from the East.”A paper presented at the 3rd Meeting of the CSCAP Working Group on

           Transnational Crime, Manila, Philippines.

 

Iselin, Brian and Alastair MacGibbon.1998. “International Initiative to Combat Transnational             Criminality.”A paper presented to the 3rd meeting of the CSCAP Working Group on Transnational Crime, Canderra, Australia.

 

Lorenzo, Harry C. Jr. “International Cooperation in Dealing With the International

            Economic Crime.”A paper presented during the Sixteenth International Symposium on Economic Crime, Jesus College, Cambridge, England. 

 

McFarlane John. 1997. “Transnational Crime as a Security Issue”, Paper presented at the  1997 meeting of CSCAP in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Melchor, Alejandro P. United People Against Crime. A compilation of Reasearch Studies, Manila, Philippines.

 

Brochure of the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center

 

CSIS, “Transnational Criminal Activity.”

 

The Lawyers Review.

 

The Philippine Star.

 

 

 



[1] Alejandro P. Melchor III, “An Overview of the Drug Problem in the Philippines”, Part I of The Menace of the Drug Syndicate, United People Against Crime, p.1.

 

[2] Harry C. Lorenzo Jr., “International Cooperation in Dealing with the International Economic Crime,” p.2, quoting Alvin Toffler, Power Shift (New York: Bantam Books, 1990), p.453.

[3] Gennady  Chufrin, “The Drug Trade: A New Security Threat to Russia from the East”. A Presentation to the 3rd Meeting of the CSCAP Working Group on Transnational Crime, 23-24 May 1998, Manila, Philippines, p.11.

 

[4] Ibid.

 

[5] For a definition see John McFarlane, “Transnational Crime as a Security Issue”, A Presentation to the 3rd Meeting of the CSCAP Working Group on Transnational Crime, 23-24 May 1998, Manila, Philippines, p.4.

 

 

[6] Ibid., p.10

 

[7] Op. Cit., p.10

[8] Op. Cit., p.10

[9] Op. Cit., p.10

 

[10] Harry C. Lorenzo Jr., “International Cooperation in Dealing with the International Economic Crime”, p.3.

 

[11] CSIS, “Transnational Criminal Activity”.

[12] Brian Iselin and MacGibbon, Alastain, “International Initiative to Combat Transnational Criminality”. A Presentation to the 3rd Meeting of the CSCAP Working Group on Transnational Crime, 23-24 May 1998, Canberra, Australia, p.15.

 

[13] John MacFarlane, “Transnational Crime as a Security Issue”, A Presentation to the 3rd Meeting of the CSCAP Working Group on Transnational Crime, 23-24 May 1998, Manila, Philippines, p.5.

 

[14] Ibid.

[15] CSIS, Transnational Criminal Activity”.

[16] Dulce M. Arguelles, “Drug Enforcement Hampered by Corruption”, Philippine Star, Tuesday, May 4, 1999.

 

[17] Brochure of the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center.

 

[18] Ibid.

[19] Jose Tomas C. Syquia, “Legal Framework on Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Testing in the Workplace”, The Lawyers Review, VolXIII No.4, p.27.

 

[20] Op. Cit.

[21] Alejandro P. Melchor III, “The Drug as the No. I Threat to National Security”, Part IX of The Menace of the Drug Syndicate, United People Against Crime, p.1.

 

[22] Ibid.