Illegal drug trade in the Philippines
The prevalence of illegal drug use in the Philippines is lower than the global average, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). President Rodrigo Duterte has claimed that the country could become a "narco-state". Two of the most used and valuable illegal drugs in the country are methamphetamine hydrochloride (known locally as shabu) and marijuana. In 2012, the United Nations said the Philippines had the highest rate of methamphetamine use in East Asia, and according to a U.S. State Department report, 2.1 percent of Filipinos aged 16 to 64 use the drug based on 2008 figures by the Philippines Dangerous Drugs Board. As of 2016, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime report that 1.1 percent of Filipinos aged 10 to 69 use the drug. In Metro Manila, most barangays are affected by illegal drugs.
Drug syndicates have been producing methamphetamine in small-scale and kitchen-type laboratories to avoid detection by the Philippine authorities since 2010. Usually, drug syndicates rent warehouses for use as drug laboratories. These syndicates have moved towards renting houses in private subdivisions, condominiums and apartments to be used as bases for their illegal drug production. Private properties are becoming more favorable to drug syndicates as sites of illegal drug production.
Methamphetamine remains more feasible to sell in the Philippines than cocaine, a more costly illegal drug.
Owing to its geographical location, international drug syndicates use the Philippines as a transit hub for the illegal drug trade. Some local drug syndicates are also involved in the international illegal drug trade, and utilize drug mules to transport small amounts of illegal drugs to other countries. Some overseas Filipino workers have been utilized by drug syndicates as drug mules, either knowingly or unknowingly. Most Filipino drug mules, mainly women, are sent to China, where drug convicts will face execution via lethal injection. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport has been identified as a favorable illegal drug trafficking hub.
Some Filipinos choose to be involved in drug trafficking due to the promise of a high income. Some still participate in such illicit activity because they are forced by certain circumstances. There were reports in the past that some Filipinos, usually women, were forced and blackmailed by drug syndicates to work as drug couriers, and if they refused, their family's safety would be compromised.
A Manila-based firm, Pacific Strategies & Assessments, identified the Philippines as, "not only a transhipment point, but also a key producer of synthetic drugs for all of Asia" in a report made in 2009.
In December 2013, the Philippine National Police - Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force and the Philippine Drug Enforcement confirmed reports that the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel had started operations in the country.
Chinese cartel involvementEdit
About nine Chinese drug cartels are involved on most illegal drug trade in the Philippines. The U.S. Department of State found out that Chinese drug cartels are behind the trade of methamphetamine hydrochloride on the Philippines.
The president divulged the names of the members of a large Chinese triad group in an interview with PTV-4 on July 7. The members of the triad group included Chinese drug lords, namely Wu Tuan, aka tatay Co, Peter Lim, aka tiger balm, and Herbert Colangco, with the three under the protection of Marcelo Garbo Jr, one of the Philippine National Police generals named by Duterte on July 5.
In 2010 a U.S. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report stated that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General estimated the illegal drug trade in the Philippines at $6.4 to $8.4 billion annually.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency discovered the production of "fly high", after a raid on a condominium unit in Makati. The effects of use of fly high includes sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and high libido.
Drug use among minorsEdit
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency statistics of 2014 recorded 40% of minors arrested for drug possession, and drug syndicates use children as drug pushers. Children arrested for drug possession or use are brought to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in compliance to Republic Act No. 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006).
Campaign against illegal drugsEdit
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Involvement of government officials and employeesEdit
From 2010 to 2015, 623 government officials and employees were arrested for drug possession, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Of these, 45% were government employees while 30% were elected officials and 25% were police. Several government officials have been arrested for drug possession, like former PDEA Special Enforcement Service director and Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino but released months later after some clarification in the ongoing investigation.
There are also alleged involvement of Philippine National Police generals on drug trade. On July 5, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte named five generals alleged to be involved in drugs: Marcelo Garbo Jr., Joel Pagdilao, Edgardo Tinio, Bernardo Diaz, and Vic Loot. All five claim not to have any involvement in illegal drugs.
In his I am sorry for my country speech, President Duterte revealed the names of 150 government officials that have been found to be involved in illegal drug trade. There have also been allegations of government officials' involvement in illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
A week after Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated on June 30, 2016, it was reported that about 1,000 drug pushers and users had been killed in police operations and around 1,000 killed in drug-related incidents. A March 2017 INCSR report by the United States State Department estimated that 6000 extrajudicial killings had resulted from "police actions and vigilantism".
Ifugao congressman Teodoro Baguilat and senator Leila de Lima called for an investigation on the cases of killings of drug pushers by police, due to the alarming rise of deaths of drug pushers in police operations. Baguilat expressed concerns on the rising number of deaths of drug pushers and users that if the rate of deaths of drug pushers and users continue to increase, people will soon be involved in killing suspected drug personalities.
- Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002
- Close-Up Forever Summer concert tragedy
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