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Rough Cuts | The VP’s assessment on the drug war

We have no idea what problem the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and its contractor are facing as far as the expansion of the stretch of the Davao-Bukidnon highway between Quarry and Angalan Bridge in Los Amigos, Tugbok district is concerned.

As far as we could remember, the project was started more than five years ago. The three bridges that are components of the project have long been completed. However, the additional two lanes on the right side going to Calinan seem to have no movement for the longest time. It is only lately that we saw semblance of activities in that area. But again, in the last few weeks, we have observed a lull in the construction work.

We are aware that the DPWH has a very active spokesperson in former mediaman Dean Ortiz. And so far he has been able to effectively perform his job to keep the public informed of what the DPWH has been doing in this part of the region.

What intrigues us is the failure of his agency to apprise the people why that particular project in a very critical highway in Davao City has been delayed for so long.

In that project, the agency is surely to fail in the government’s transparency test.

How’s that Dean?

We are sad at how elementary Vice President Leni Robredo appeared to have treated the government’s war on illegal drugs.

Yes, the lady second highest official of the land is giving the government’s campaign to rid the country of the addictive substances a rating of ONE (1) in a range of 1 to 100. In other words, as far as she is concerned, the campaign launched when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016 has not even taken off from the ground.

Robredo highlighted more what she thinks is the continuing human rights violations of the government in focusing its drive on the small fries like the users, the small pushers, the street level drugs distributors.

She said in her media conference disclosing the supposed contents of her report to the President in the 18 days she was working as drug czar, that Operation Tokhang, the carrier program in the anti-illegal drugs campaign, has virtually left the real drug lords and the syndicates untouched. She was virtually short of saying that the drug lords are walking in the corridors of powers in the government.

The VP even said that the volume of drugs confiscated by the law enforcement authorities is insignificant compared to what the Filipinos were made to believe.

Well, it does not really require much brain to notice the amateurish nature of the VP’s report. And it is similarly easy to discern the political dimension of her assessment. And she somehow succeeded in her and that of the opposition’s objectives – maximum media mileage. After all, it cannot be denied that for now VP Leni is the only strongest hope for them to regain Malacañang. And while the VP has been saying she is not thinking of the 2022 election of the Presidency, her actions speak otherwise.

But whatever her political plan is does not justify her down-grading to the barest minimum the efforts of the current administration in curbing the illegal drugs trade in the country.

And while she may have her reason in saying that the government has not been successful in busting big time drug syndicates and bringing to the bar of the law its leaders, the VP has to be made aware that the government is waging its war against well-entrenched and globally organized groups with so much resources to spend to keep the identifies of their leaders and the schemes of its international operations hidden in extreme secrecy.

These syndicates have armies of down lines who hardly know each other by real names and addresses. And they have the means of the most modern and sophisticated communications gadgets that could broadcast messages in the fastest and most secret way possible.

Worst, they have in their payrolls some officials of the police, the judiciary, the military, the immigration and Customs bureaus who they could run to for support should they see perils in their illegal operation. Who would even know that these syndicates could be masked with corporate identities so they could operate with all the trappings of legality even making them valued clients of the country’s leading banks?

So, as it is in actual war, the belligerents have to first deal with the foot soldiers in any front lines. It is from here that the better strategist slowly moves up to the succeeding higher levels until the syndicates are dismantled.

Apparently the Vice President wants a short cut. May be she needs to have little ideas on how the board game “Game of the Generals” is played so she could be given some lessons before blabbering her assessment and recommendations.

We wonder if she will adopt her own recommendations if she will be given the opportunity to lead the country. And if she does adopt, will she be able to pin down even those foot soldiers of the illegal drugs syndicates using her recommended strategies?

Illegal drugs manufacture and trading is already a multi-billion dollar international business and the money it generates could affect the economy of nations. It has now evolved into one giant Frankenstein of a problem threatening the stability of global society. Hence, dealing with it with kid gloves and amateurish flair could lead the country towards much bigger social disaster.

Such problem could easily devour her.

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