‘Papa Kiko’ joins DU30 war

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Common commitment Pope Francis flashes his world-famous smile but when it comes to the narcotics scourge, he shares the same indignation as that of President Rodrigo Duterte. AFP

Pope Francis is absolutely right! Amen

President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature war on drugs received the strongest temporal endorsement imaginable after Pope Francis said it is the duty of governments to fight drug traffickers who peddle “death.”

Pope Francis, addressing participants in a Vatican conference on drug addiction on Saturday, called on everyone to combat the production and distribution of narcotics and said it is the task of governments “to face with courage this fight against the traffickers of death.”

Drug addiction, he said, is an open wound in our society, whose victims are ensnared into exchanging their freedom for slavery.

Mr. Duterte said recently the war on drugs will be “as relentless and chilling” as the day it began.

Pope Francis added his voice to the growing list of leaders supporting the war on drugs after United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres and US President Donald Trump both called for global action against the menace.

Trump recently expressed his support for drug dealers to receive the death penalty to address a “national crisis.”

The Church head decried “pathological forms derived from a secularized cultural climate, marked by the capitalism of consumption

“We’re wasting our time if we don’t get tough with drug dealers and that toughness includes the death penalty,” Trump said.

He later added: “The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty. Maybe our country is not ready for that, it’s possible, it’s possible.” Trump said “personally I can’t understand that” about those opposed to such drastic measures.

Guterres also urged swift action from governments to address the worsening worldwide problem during a recent high-level UN counter-narcotics event.

He said addressing the narcotics menace is “more than just a policy issue” and that “the reality is that drugs and addiction are not abstract issues.”

Young people and others are lured into a bondage hard to escape.

Pope Francis decried “pathological forms derived from a secularized cultural climate, marked by the capitalism of consumption.”

He also noted “existential emptiness” and the “precariousness” of human ties.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III welcomed Francis’ pronouncement.

“Pope Francis is absolutely right! Amen!” Sotto, a known anti-illegal drugs advocate, said.

Advocacy vs narcotics
Pope Francis spoke to some 450 participants in the international conference in the Vatican on the theme “Drugs and Addictions: An Obstacle to Integral Human Development.”

Young people and others, the Pope observed, are lured into a bondage hard to escape, resulting in the loss of meaning in life and sometimes in the loss of life itself.

The Holy Father said the Catholic Church is working with civil, national and international institutions and various educational agencies to combat the spread of addictions through prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration projects to restore dignity to those who have lost it.

The Church is working with civil, national and international institutions and various educational agencies to combat the spread of addictions.

This calls for a combined effort among groups and agencies to implement social programs aimed at health, family support and education.

EJK weaponized
Critics of President Duterte have been using his all-out campaign against illegal drugs to hit him, even going to the extent of filing formal complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

They claimed that the government’s drive versus illegal drugs resulted in extra judicial killings (EJK).

Government authorities, however, denied any EJK.

Upon assuming the presidency on 30 June 2016, Mr. Duterte launched a no-nonsense campaign against illegal drugs, since addressing the menace was among his promises.

Hard stats
Data from RealNumbersPH showed that from 1 July 2016 up to 20 March 2018, a total of 4,075 drug personalities were killed in 91,704 anti-drug operations.

A total of 123,648 drug personalities were also arrested.

More than 2,620 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu were seized with an estimated street value of P13.46 billion.

Eighty-seven government operatives were killed during the conduct of operations while 227 others were wounded.

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