Welcome to the war on drugs, Leni

Welcome to the war on drugs, Leni

- in Opinion
An artists perspective of newly-minted ICAD co-chair, VP Leni Robredo, during her first day of actively participating in the war on drugs.

Even Karl Marx was not able to come to any concrete conclusion for what to offer as a practical replacement to capitalism. After the violent revolt of the proletariat, what form of government would actually be installed?

Now we find ourselves in a similar position with alleged-Vice President Leni Robredo. A long-time critic of the drug war, Robredo has used her supposed lack of power as her thin shield. This supposed impotence has kept her in the realm of critic and been an easy retort to anyone who asked her for an alternative.

Opinions are free, but so is Google scholar. There are a number of resources online and in libraries that detail the many different approaches a state can take against illegal-drugs. And she doesn’t even have to do the leg work on her own. She has staff and a budget. But time and time again, Robredo has said that she would push for a “health-based” approach. In the three years where her office supposedly had nothing to do, why didn’t they compile any feasibility studies? Why didn’t they flesh out their proposal and present these to the President? Why didn’t they do anything except criticize?

No doubt, illegal drugs are a menace to Philippine society. But just like anything else to do with public administration, everyone has an opinion. But criticism without any real offered alternative is nothing. It holds no weight. It’s a bad Yelp review. The Philippine government is far from perfect, but this administration is without a doubt trying. That’s more than I can say for all the status-quo term before it. We’re building, we’re innovating, we’re changing international policies, and yes, we’re addressing illegal drugs. Disagreeing is fine, but what would you do instead? What would you really do, no blanket statements?

Suggestions, alternatives, and constructive criticism are welcome. What is not helpful is what has allowed us to fall into this hole in the first place – a soft hand that assumes the problem will resolve itself. President Duterte’s strong hand has been forced by the decades of mismanagement which came before him.

Robredo’s thin shield is gone. The President is calling her bluff and she is now forced to walk her talk. The loyalty of the administration is not with waging a “war against the poor”, it is with liberating the Filipino people from the oppression of illegal drugs.

It’s your time to shine, Leni. You have all the power in the world right now to say your piece and put your vague theories to the test. But if they fail, you will have nothing else to fall back on. Being a critic is not the same as being a leader, as you will soon find out.

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