The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights expresses alarm over the spate of killings of suspected drug pushers both by police personnel and unidentified men saying that the “poor have become easy targets” of the crackdown. The group reiterated its full support to the Duterte government’s campaign against drugs and criminality as it has witnessed how drugs destroyed families, communities and future of a nation. “As aptly put by a community leader, illegal drugs are nothing like but a ‘weapon of mass destruction’, victimizing primarily the poor and innocent. Indeed, drugs must be eliminated,” Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR said. CTUHR also commends the efforts to ask and persuade drug peddlers and users to voluntarily turn themselves in and start anew under a promise of change.  Never in the recent history of this country that such huge numbers admit to distributing and using the illegal drugs, the group said. “However, we find the series and pattern of killings of alleged drug pushers disturbing and alarming. Not only the killings transgress due process that the President himself promised to uphold, but it is also frightening to see that these killings might  turn into a norm one day, thus further deepening impunity that has plagued this country for decades. "Since the war against drugs started, the poor have carried the heaviest brunt. Victims of drug-related killings come mostly from the lower end of society, those often wearing tsinelas and living in crowded communities. No arrest of big time drug dealers, their protectors,  drug operators and financiers cashing in on poor’ desperation to earn big and quick has happened. Some names have surfaced and the public is yet to see big people behind bars and face the full force of the law” Arago averred. As of July 18, media reports noted 183 suspected drug pushers killed in police operations since Duterte took office last June 30. 82 others were killed by unidentified men. “These killings must be thoroughly investigated and addressed to ensure that the campaign against illegal drugs and criminality does not result in more human rights violations,” Arago added. The group also reminded that the President had said many times before that criminality and the drug problem are symptoms of pervasive poverty and oppression of the people. “Indeed, the poor have become pawns and fell prey to drug syndicates; they risk selling drugs as their means of livelihood.  When the oppressed lacks or no access to decent jobs, they also become vulnerable to committing crimes in order to survive. “Without condoning or justifying the crime itself, the Duterte government must be reminded that it is not those tsinelas-wearing drug pushers neither the pickpockets at EDSA that has turned this country into an ironically ‘rich but poverty-stricken nation’, but neo-liberal policies and programs that past administrations have embraced wholeheartedly,”  Arago said.###

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *