Newsbrief: Southeast Asians to End Drugs 1/24/03

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The governments of the Philippines and Thailand appear to be competing for the Newt Gingrich Memorial Drug Eradication Timetable Award. Gingrich once memorably vowed to make the United States "drug free" by 2002; now governments in Southeast Asia are taking up the cudgel. From Thailand comes news that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had given his underlings until April 30 to make Thailand "drug free."

"I want to see every square inch getting x-rayed and authorities making a clean sweep of drugs in every area within three months from now," he told a briefing of more than a thousand governors, police and military personnel on January 15, the Bangkok Post reported. Thaksin added that he would no longer tolerate drugs and vowed a vicious fight. "Drug traders are unkind to our children, so we will be unkind to them," he said.

Functionaries who fail to eradicate drugs could lose their jobs, Thaksin warned. "Don't make the interior minister act as police inspector. You are finished if you don't do your job."

The campaign to wipe out drugs begins promptly at 9:00am on February 1, the Post reported.

Meanwhile, not to be one-upped, Philippines Interior and Local Government Secretary Joey Lina on January 18 directed the Philippine DEA and National Police to provide him with the names of all drug lords, financiers, manufacturers, dealers and users in the country. Running under the headline "New Order of Battle Readied vs. Drug Fiends," the Manila Times reported the order is part of a plan to reduce the municipal listings of people involved in drugs by 10% each quarter.

"All the barangays [municipalities] all over the country must update the list of drug pushers and users, protectors and financiers in their jurisdiction before the end of January," Lina ordered. "The listings from our barangays will be the basis for the PDEA and the PNP to prepare the monthly update of how many were arrested and charged."

Those should be some lists. The Philippine government estimates that 3.4 million Filipinos are drug users. DRCNet vows to report from Thailand and the Philippines as soon as they are certified drug-free.

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Issue #273, 1/24/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | DRCNet Interview: Gustavo de Greiff, Former Attorney General of Colombia | DRCNet Interview: Luis Gómez, Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News | DRCNet Interview: Ricardo Sala, ViveConDrogas.com (Live With Drugs), Mexico | Mérida Addendum: Missing Paragraphs from Last Week's Giordano Interview | Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Trial Underway -- Medical Marijuana Supporters Stage Demos, Start Billboard Campaign | Bolivia: As Strife Continues, Armed Rebels Emerge -- Or Do They? | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, February 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Cúpula Internacional sobre Legalização, 15-Dec de Fevereiro, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: Maryland Governor to Support Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Southeast Asians to End Drugs | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Canadian Heroin Bust Study Finds Drug War Futile | Newsbrief: Peruvian Coca Growers Begin to Organize | Newsbrief: Mexico Disbands Anti-Drug Agency, Cites Corruption | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar

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