Are We There Yet? What it Will Take to Win the Philippine War on Drugs

Key Points

  • The number of Filipinos who fear that there are many drug addicts in the Philippines is increasing. However, government and police authorities are increasingly faced with local as well as international criticisms over their handling of the drug problem.
  • The drug problem facing the country cannot simply be reduced to supply-and-demand issues. Any effort by government to address the drug problem in the Philippines must by necessity adopt a comprehensive approach that is both multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional targeting not just users and pushers but society-at-large. The problem of illegal drugs cannot be seen simply and solely as a police and criminal matter. Therefore, punitive and retributive measures will not suffice.
  • Government authorities need to reframe the anti-illegal drugs campaign less as a war against suspected criminal elements and more as a social development issue aimed not only at reforming and rehabilitating drug abusers but also preventing and curbing the onset of drug abuse altogether. Moreover, efforts need to be urgently exerted by police authorities especially not to turn the anti-drug campaign into a war against the poor.

Download the full policy brief here.