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Till Death(s) Do Us Part?: Policy “Design Trace” of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign

Author: Clyde Ben A. Gacayan

Abstract: The many political forces in support for and against Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs present a key challenge in drug policy analysis. As a highly politicized issue, drug policy concerns include questions of economic development, security, human rights, and public health. How has the policy evolved in the last two-and-a-half years of implementation given these different concerns? What can policy tracing contribute in understanding the policy?

The article examines the policymaking process pertinent to the Philippine anti-drug campaign through a policy tracing technique. The study employed a qualitative research design using multiple sources such as chronological media review, informant interviews with policy implementers, elites, and experts, as well as document review of legislations and official documents.

The policy design trace of the Philippine anti-drug campaign reveals policy characteristics that are neglected. First, the policy has evolved into four distinct stages—and these policy iterations are largely responses to numerous implementation crises. The rebranding of policies was used to legitimize policies than improve policy values and learning. Second, changes in policy were only seen in the reorganization of police and supplementary guidelines for Oplan TokHang operations. Finally, the campaign operates within a police-centric framework despite interagency and whole-of-government approaches.

These findings provide an explanation as to why the campaign has been highly punitive and will continue to be so in the next years, despite the presence of alternative drug control interventions and policy positions.

Keywords: policy design trace, Philippine anti-drug campaign, Project Double Barrel, Oplan Tokhang, drug control policy

Recommended Citation: 

Chicago Style:

Gacayan, Clyde Ben A. 2020. “Till Death(s) Do Us Part?: Policy ‘Design Trace’ of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign.” Philippine Journal of Public Policy: Interdisciplinary Development Perspectives (2020): 1–33.

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

Gacayan, C. B. A. (2020). Till death(s) do us part?: Policy “design trace” of the Philippine anti-illegal drug campaign. Philippine Journal of Public Policy: Interdisciplinary Development Perspectives, 2020, 1–33.