By NATHANIEL FABIAN
“Please can I go home, I have school tomorrow.” His desperate plea was silenced by every punch to his stomach, until he could only grunt in pain, momentarily passing out. He was then manhandled by two policemen who brought him to the farthest end of the street. Another two men followed. He was given a gun and was told to fire it. The boy could not do it. So he was shot on the back and twice on the left ear that shattered his brain; murdered at a dead-end corner in Barangay 160 Caloocan.
He missed school the next morning. He was given a failing grade. No special test. Not anymore. Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student at the Our Lady of Lourdes College, dreaming of becoming a policeman, but instead was gunned down by the men whose shoes he may have one day filled. The CCTV footage awakened the silence among gunshots in our consciences.
This is outrageous.
This event was met by the rage distinct across the whole country which barraged the republic on summary executions of non-guilty or guilty citizens. Amid this reaction, the administration does not plan on halting its momentum on drug war. And despite these recent crises in human rights, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has allowed all higher education institutions (HEIs) to conduct mandatory drug testing starting the incoming school year 2018-2019. It is not a little thing to be ignored.
Let us comprehend that Cagayan State University implemented its own mandatory drug testing policy first off in the entry of academic year 2017-2018. In this policy, enrollees have to submit their results of their drug tests before being admitted into the institution. This sparked outrage among enrollees and even enrolled students. A youth organization, Masakbayan, is one of the organizations that expressed dismay over this policy. Masakbayan explained that mandatory drug test policy is an extension of the drug war inside their campuses. In just a week of implementation, the policy was cancelled in response to the rising pressure against it.
Since July last year, over 12,000 constituents of the Republic of the Philippines have already been gunned down by its own operation called Oplan Tokhang that aims to ‘secure and protect’ over 105 million Filipinos. The death toll includes students, innocents, public officials, policemen themselves, Kian, and a 5 year-old girl. Kian and the increasing number of “casualties” of this drug war is one in every 12 000 people that deserve the right to life and the right to due process even if proven guilty. The problem is, none of the 12 000 were proven guilty. Kian, in the name of law, is innocent. And then 1: 12000 Kian’s may meet the same fate if this continues.
Yet, according to President Rodrigo Duterte, this war against drugs is led by his administration’s respect for the lives of the victims of drug addicts. He promised to take down the root of drugs in the country in 3 to 6 months. But then, recently, he admitted that he can’t do it in just 6 months. He asked for another 6-month extension. He is asking for another thousand more dead.
If Duterte’s drug war is led by the respect for human life, it should also be guided by the respect for human life. We have to break the silence. Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. Silence is more evil itself.
There are already too many dead. We have to call for retribution. We shall make noise against the silence of the many.
In solution to poverty, waging war against illegal drugs is not the answer. First off, the main factor behind poverty is the economic status of our country. The actual result of the country’s rising Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is that the few oligarchs, businessmen, and landlords are accumulating rising profits up the tower. The circulation of the wealth of the country is either being exported out of our hands leaving a few coins for the local crocodiles or being deposited in the pockets of the profiteering few. Down the ivory tower, the people of the Philippines are bone-deep destitute. The farmers, who compose 75% of our population, are short of government support which leads them to migrate to the cities and to the imperial Manila to hack some alternatives out for living.
However, in the cities themselves are in huge crises of unemployment and underemployment. Then comes a large number of people living in places out of our imaginations. Then comes a way to ease their misery: drugs.
The reasons behind people gone wild and morbid are people too. There is a disease afflicting Philippine society. Its not illegal drugs only. The root of all the poverty is the economic imbalance itself. In this light, only 3 out 10 farmers own land to till, the unemployment rate is high plus schemes such as contractualization, etc., and the support to mitigate these crises from government is not enough. This drug war does not take out the disease in the Philippines, it just targets the symptoms which results side effects. And the silence of the majority helps to further worsen the disease in the Philippines. Silence provides the same narcotic effects of drugs to the government. Unless, we speak out.
The Philippines needs to struggle for steps to answer the roots of poverty. First, genuine agrarian reform would answer the aforementioned crises for the biggest part of the population, the farmers. Secondly, national industrialization would supplement the surge of skilled workers and graduates who seek for employment. Third, the quest for better public services such as health, education, and housing will ease the problems of poverty. Lastly, the security for all our rights will be managed by the broad-based authority.
Last July, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) were into the 5th round of peace talks that would delve on the poverty crisis. However, President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled it. He further delighted himself into his war on drugs.
We, however, have to put into more effort in the struggle for a better future for us all. We as apprentices of this generation shall gear up to peak our wits and strength towards the end of poverty. A future where another Kian could enjoy his absolute right to life and due process. For now, here is our call: Stop the Killings! Stop the Mandatory Drug Testing! # nordis.net