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Southeast Asia: Philippines President Names Herself Drug Czar, Orders Random Testing of All High School Students, More to Come

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo named herself the country's drug czar Monday and ordered government agencies to prepare for battle against big-time drug traffickers. But in the meantime, she has announced new marching orders on another front: student drug testing. As one of her first acts as drug czar, she ordered random student drug testing for every high school in the country, public or private.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/gloria-arroyo.jpg
Philippine president and top drug war demagogue Gloria Arroyo
The immediate cause of Arroyo's seizure of the reins of drug control policy was the "Alabang Boys scandal," in which three Ecstasy traffickers managed to get initially acquitted despite the strong evidence against them, leading to suspicions of crooked prosecutors. Arroyo this week ordered five prosecutors suspended pending further investigation.

But problems in the Philippines' drug war policing go much further than the Alabang Boys. Filipino drug fighters have compiled a dismal record in prosecuting drug evidence, due apparently, to equal parts incompetence and corruption. Of the nearly 100,000 cases filed by the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the last five years, nearly 78,000 are still unresolved.

Arroyo has pledged to change all that. "Governments that delay action against illegal drugs, or regard it as a routine police matter, do so at their own peril," Arroyo told a Monday cabinet meeting. "A country awash with illegal drugs is a country compromised, its law and order institutions tainted and corrupted. I will temporarily act as czar, or overseer, of the war against illegal drugs," Arroyo added, stressing that the campaign would include boosting law enforcement and prosecution.

On Tuesday, Arroyo showed she meant business by sending Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita out to tell reporters she had ordered law enforcement agencies to prepare an order of battle against traffickers. "Our law enforcement agencies involved in the campaign must come up with specific actions against those who are known big-time people involved in drug trafficking. It follows without saying, the President wants immediate identification of those who could be subject of this campaign and bring them before the bar of justice," Ermita said at the Palace news conference.

Anybody involved in drugs is fair game, he warned. "There will be no sacred cows on this. The drive will go all the way. Anyone who will be involved, whoever they may be, they will have to account before the law."

But it is high school students who will first feel the tender mercies of Arroyo's newly reinvigorated war on drugs. The Department of Education announced this week that while it had already planned to reinstitute random drug testing of students -- the Philippines did it between 2003 and 2005 -- it was now moving ahead at an accelerated pace to suit Arroyo's wishes.

And testing of students may be just the beginning. Some Philippines political figures are talking about drug testing employees of outsourced call center workers, others are calling for testing university students, and the government is currently considering drug testing all government employees.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Drug Warrior Posturing

I wrote about her hysterical speech just the other day.

another idiot who doesn't know or care that alcohol is a drug

The damage done by weed is child's play compared to the hell created by some alcoholics, and also when compared to the damage done by the war on weed. Alcohol kills, and the war on cannabis kills- it kills both thru black market related violence and because it forces people to use alcohol to get high.
Why are marijuana users paying for the sins of alcohol users?

Isn't it ironic??

After the alabang boys issue..Isn't is ironic to impose random drug testing or may maybe it's just political???

Legalizing Drugs Lowers Crime

Suppose another country had almost no cocaine problem. Suppose that other country had almost no crystal meth problem. Suppose that other country had almost no heroin problem, at least by our standards.

Suppose that country had less than a small fraction of one percent of our total drug arrests. And suppose that other country had almost no "drug-related crime" and that their robbery rate was a tiny fraction of our robbery rate.

Do you think it might be wise to carefully observe that other country's drug policy and that we should model or copy that other country's drug policy?

Well, there is such a country: The Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic is the only country in the world where adult citizens can legally use, possess and grow small quantities of marijuana. (In the Netherlands, marijuana is quasi-legal - not officially legal.)

The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 population. The United States' overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000 population.

The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000 population. The United States' robbery rate is 145.9 per 100,000 population, according to our FBI.

According to our drug war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause people to use other, much more dangerous drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin.

Obviously, this doesn't happen in the Czech Republic.
Why not?

Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other recreational drugs?

Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock to hard drug use -- not a gateway?

Could it be that the vast majority our so-called "drug-related crime" is caused by our marijuana prohibition policies?

Could it be that if we keep doing what we have been doing, we will probably get the same results?

Should we do something different -- dramatically different?

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