Families of drug-related killings know all-to-well the terror of Duterte’s drug war. Having lost loved ones to Operation Double Barrel/Tokhang, their feelings are still raw and painful. Still many are rising up to become advocates themselves to denounce Duterte’s bloody “war on drugs.”
Even if many Filipinos have turned a blind eye and cold-heartedly ignored their plight, these families are plodding on with the help of advocates to find their footing and organize amongst themselves to take on this war on drugs.
Their message is clear: Duterte is waging war against his own people.
The killing of seventeen year-old Kian Lloyd Delos Santos is appalling. According to testimony of family and witnesses, this boy was handed a gun and ordered to run! We do not believe any supposed evidence by police—their pattern is already well established. They have no conscience and will plant evidence on anyone. This situation is flatly barbaric.
Even Duterte has said that he won’t finish this war during his term. He flaunts false patriotism, where ‘saving the future’ is nothing more than brute destruction rained upon one’s own citizens. He has always been ruthless in talking about drug users and small-time pushers. We have seen that when it comes to poor he has no intention to address—he simply seems to wants (and even enjoys) to kill, kill, kill!
And the actions and behavior of the police are beyond reason. As they seek to comply with the bloodlust of President Duterte, they are devoid of any moral compass and ravage families and communities.
There may be martial law in Mindanao, but we have had martial rule in poor communities through Duterte’s War on Drugs since his first day in office. People have been killed every day at the whim of state forces under Operation Double Barrel/Tokhang. There is no due process. They just keep gunning people down on the street.
Perhaps for a while the police were continuing quietly, but this week the gates of HELL ON EARTH have opened wide—every day has been slaughter and massacre. The streets run with blood and the orphans and parents robbed of their children are wailing.
Surely, these sounds reverberate through the country. Isn’t it time for more to be shaken awake to denounce this rotten “war on drugs?”
We want an end to the proliferation of drugs. Duterte has chosen a wrong approach. The supply of drugs through drug-lords, suppliers, producers and narco-politicians must be dismantled; this is what ails us. The poor need and deserve livelihood programs and social services, including rehabilitation for those dependent on drug-use. We must address the roots of what makes for the proliferation of the illegal drug trade and not just give the police a license to kill.
Reference: Fr. Gilbert Billena, O.Carm.
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