The Presidential Communications posted new figures about the drug abuse in the Philippines, showing that 95.47 percent used shabu while 4.29% used marijuana. They captioned it, “According to the United Nations World Drug Report in 2012, the Philippines has the highest drug use of Shabu in East Asia. Be a #PartnerForChange against drugs.”
However, activist Jonas Bagas called the Presidential Communications out for this “blatant lie.”
“This is a blatant lie. This is nowhere to be found in the 2012 UNODC report,” he wrote and posted this link to the said report.
“Also, the Philippines is clustered under East and Southeast Asia, and our drug problem can’t be bigger than China’s, which is included in the grouping,” he added.
Bagas also provided the link to the more recent World Drug Report from UN in 2015.
“Why is the Duterte government exaggerating the drug problem?” he asked.
He added that someone has pointed out the glaring mistake in the Presidential Communication’s Facebook post as it classifies the Philippines as a part of East Asia when it is in Southeast Asia.
“The intern who made this must have been confused by the UNODC regional sub-groupings,” Bagas said.
The comments section on Bagas’ post has been quite active.
Jay Soliman tried to pass the Presidential Communication’s mistake-riddled post as a fake screen capture, although he was quickly rebutted by another netizen who showed a screen capture of the same figures tweeted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
When Bagas said in the comment section why the current administration is exaggerating the problem, the netizens had some pretty negative theories.
Some netizens also noted how vague the figures were.
Another netizen asked Bagas if he really did the fact-check and Bagas replied that he already did but he could not find anything in the 2012 World Drug Report from the UN.
But Bagas later added that the Presidential Communications Office may have used the more recent data from the Philippine Drug Agency in 2015.
Based on the screenshot taken of the erroneous post, it did cite that its source is the PDEA, although there was no year indicated as to when the report was made. However, this only made the post even more confusing since its caption was talking about a UN World Drug Report in 2012.
Netizen Kat Torres pointed out how the figures do not even add up to 100 percent.
Jane Abella commented on how this is typical ‘Duterte machinery.’
Aaron Christopher Panaligan said that that post was deleted and replaced with another vague chart.
And finally, mystery solved! A netizen posted a screen capture of a PDEA report on the “Philippine Drug Situation” with figures similar to those posted by the Presidential Communications.
Here’s a clearer look at this portion of the 2015 PDEA report.
To wrap up, here are the mistakes in the now deleted Presidential Communications’ post:
- The graph is vague. Percentages of what population? This is also pointed out by other netizens.
- The caption said it was about the Philippines being the highest shabu use in East Asia, which is yet another mistake because our country is in Southeast Asia.
- The caption referred to the UN World Drug Report in 2012, but the figures could not be found in the said report at all.
All these errors lead to the conclusion that the post was misleading, especially to the public that just embrace the information without analyzing whether it is true or not. No wonder the Presidential Communications Office took it down, but as what one of the commenters pointed out, they should have corrected it. But the sad thing is that they replaced it with another vague chart.
In a separate post, Bagas posted a screen capture of the “Statement by the UNODC Executive Director on the situation in the Philippines” posted on August 3, 2016.
“Here’s what the UNODC actually said about the Philippines, and this is what the Presidential Comms team should be quoting. This is fresh, too,” he said.
The statement is from UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, who expressed concern over the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines and who supported the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “in condemning the apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms.”
The statement also pointed out how this attitude towards the killing violate the provisions in international drug control conventions and how the UNODC is ready to stop drug traffickers while promoting drug prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration for drug users using methods “based in evidence, science, public health and human rights.”
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