Dispatch from Crame No. 130: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on the P6.4-billion worth of shabu smuggled from China

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The ongoing investigation on the large-scale smuggling of methamphetamine (shabu) from China betrays a glaring inadequacy of the anti-illegal drug program of the government. While our law enforcers focus their attention on going after street peddlers and drug addicts, less efforts have been placed on other, perhaps more important, aspects of the War on Drugs: supply and demand reduction.

The obscene amount of shabu confiscated during a raid in Valenzuela was only identified after being informed by customs officials in China. Without such piece of intelligence, the contraband could have been distributed all over our country by now. This can only lead to two conclusions: first, that China is not doing enough to prevent the exportation of shabu from their country; and second, our Bureau of Customs is almost utterly incapable of preventing the entry of illegal drugs.

During his testimony before the Blue Ribbon Committee, BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon admitted that they do not have the capacity to screen all incoming shipments. That while the rest of the world has the capability of x-raying 100% of all incoming commodities, we can only process 16%. That is a massive hole that exposes our local police enforcers to a steady supply of imported drugs well beyond their capability to detect.

We already know that China is the biggest source of imported illegal drugs. If China is indeed sincere in their offer to assist us in our war on drugs, they should step up their efforts to stop the outflow of illegal drugs from their country. At this point, who knows how much more drugs came through the same channel with the drugs that were confiscated during the raid?

If this administration is to succeed in the War on Drugs, it has to stop the wide-scale smuggling. Angry words and bullets are not enough. There has to be a policy that combats illegal drugs on all fronts and vigilance to properly implement them. All players must be well equipped to perform their functions. If we provide our police force with guns and bullets, we should provide our customs officials with proper equipment as well.

To borrow words from Macbeth, our war on drugs, as it is, is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing except dead bodies.

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