In reading a series of articles being posted by both the pro and anti something crowd, I see one side attacking the other as though that alone will solve the problem. Most authors generalize as most do when they attack those who do not think the same way as them or are not seeing the same picture others do. One of my best teachers once said to me, “I will show you where to look, but I will not tell you what to see”. With all due respect, I think that aspect has been missed by most commentators today.
In respect of Duterte and his drive to clean up the Philippines, I absolutely, 100% agree with the principle behind that idea, although I am just not in total agreement with the methods being used. There is a reality I accept however that it has to start somewhere. I just hope that this initial phase ends quickly and we can move on to the construction phase as well as end the current destruction. Again however there is another reality. Before you can rebuild something; you need to clean up the area you are going to build upon.
This is I think going to be Duterte’s biggest hurdle, simply because the previous administrations and the current crop of elected officials are so ingrained in the corruption, they will be reluctant to make any changes that in anyway reduces their ability to get their hand deeper in the cookie jar. Reforming the Constitution to enable the economic reforms needed to start on the rebuild will likely be the stumbling block. But if the people are serious about bringing an end to the drugs, the killings and the crime, then they need to really make themselves heard and demand that those holding public office, if they cannot become part of the solution, that they get out of the way and allow those who would resolve these problems get in and get it done.
Those who currently protest the alleged Extra Judicial Killings, would in my view be better if they focused on driving the reforms, make opening up the economy the priority so that the idle hands who now make mischief with drugs and crime can find other ways to become busy and productive in a legal and safe environment. Drugs and crime are a consequence of the poverty, and the poverty is a consequence of the corruption, and the corruption is a consequence of having a closed economy. When the doors are opened and regulated competition comes, and the economy grows. Jobs and gainful employment will follow, and the current drug pushers will find it a much tougher task trying to addict people who are employed, have money in their pockets and have the self-respect and dignity that having them brings.
This is why the drive to reduce the flow of illegal drugs is so important. You might never totally eradicate the problem as a whole, but every step that is taken to reduce their availability will have a corresponding impact in the overall crime rate. In the long term, government needs to start focusing on the economy and start job creation, business opportunities, educational access, health care, and so forth because really the best way to beat the drugs is by keeping people busy and productive.
IDLE HANDS MAKE MISCHIEF.
So getting people busy will make drugs and their production less attractive if the government shifts to that as soon as it can.
Originally written by: Trevor Bailey