It has been widely observed lately how the anti-drug campaign of the government seems to hit hard only on the urban poor. President Rodrigo Duterte once rationalized that rich and big drug lords operated their drug businesses outside the country. So, how could government run after them without having to invade the country where they sought refuge in?
And anyway, shabu is the poor man’s choice and thus police operations are often seen in urban poor areas. “Mahihirap ang marami kasi they are an easy target,” Duterte said. (Majority are poor. And thus they are an easy target [for shabu]). He believed shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride is popular among poor folks for its cheaper price, and because of its cheaper quality it is not popular in well-off communities.
Some observers do say the quality of the drug used established status symbol. Thus shabu, being cheaper, may be a no-no to wealthy dope users.
Duterte further added why the rich reportedly never touch shabu: “But cocaine and heroin are not as destructive as shabu because…cocaine and heroin are manufactured out of the derivatives of a poppy, tanim iyan parang marijuana (that’s a plant like marijuana). So it is not as destructive to the mind as meth, which is just really a combination of a deadly mix of chemicals,” Duterte claimed.
The president said there is no drug trade in exclusive subdivisions or villages like those found in Makati. “Wala akong nakitang nag-distribute diyan sa Forbes Park, nagbabantay din ako, kasi ang mga tao diyan hindi shabu ang hinihirit diyan. Ang mga tao diyan hinihirit ay cocaine pati heroin,” (I didn’t see anyone distributing [drugs] there in Forbes Park. I myself am also checking things out. People there don’t take shabu. They take cocaine and heroin) Duterte said during a news conference that happened at the funeral vigil for Senior Inspector Mark Garcia. Garcia was killed during an anti-drug police operation in Antipolo last weekend.
But Duterte made it clear that rich or poor, drug users and dealers will be apprehended and brought to justice. His anti-drug campaign exempted nobody.
“Just because you are poor, you are excused from apprehension…? Rich or poor, I do not give a shit,” Duterte maintained.
“My order is to destroy,” the president added.
Due to his unrelenting and aggressive anti-drug campaign, Duterte has been earning criticism here and abroad to this day, especially from human rights advocates and from the United Nations, no less.