NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/28 February) – President Duterte announced recently that the Colombian drug cartels are already in the country. This is apparently evidenced by the several bricks of cocaine found drifting in the archipelago’s eastern seaboard – from Quezon province down to Siargao and Davao coast.
If true, what could have motivated the Colombian drug cartels to expand their business in the Philippines?
Well, they are probably aware that the drug distributed in the Philippines is mostly methamphetamine or shabu, the poor man’s drug. They might have thought that the market for the rich users is still untapped. Cocaine is dubbed as a rich man’s drug. So it is here.
But it is still a wonder why the Colombians would sally here when PRRD has a dreadful war on drugs. Well, they are probably convinced that the war is only menacing to the poor users and pushers but is ineffectual, if not kind, to drug lords. They are obviously informed that drug users and street dealers are summarily liquidated without qualms but drug lords have remain scot-free. Not a single high profile drug lord or identified military protector has been put to death or at least jailed in the 3 year old drug war. The situation, thus, is inviting and encouraging. So here the cartels come.
Yet the drifting cocaine bricks remain a puzzle. They are clearly intended to be seen, to be recovered. What could be the raison d’etre? Is it not a godfather kind of intimidation to the authorities? That they are coming, if not have already, indeed, come. That they should be left alone; otherwise a real shooting drug war would ensue, like what they have in Latin America.
The situation is a little scary. The drug cartels are more powerful and fearsome than oil cartels because they are known to maintain commando gangsters and infiltrators that could undermine the peace and stability of a host country. Cartel gunmen often attack state security forces to pressure governments to back off from their trade.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines)