Duterte's drug war has 'unrealistic' goals - expert

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2017 04:13 PM

Pascual Tanguay was among international experts invited to speak at a drug policy forum held at the University of the Philippines- Diliman, organized by the Free Legal Assistance Group. Katrina Domingo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's goal of eliminating illegal drugs in the country through a bloody war is "unrealistic" and is "not feasible," a Thailand-based expert said Saturday.

"The current administrative policies around drug control seems to be very much focused on achieving unachievable goals," Pascal Tanguay of the Law Enforcement and HIV Network said on the sidelines of a drug policy forum.

Tanguay said unrealistic goals were set after Duterte started crafting his own drug policies instead of heeding advice from narcotics experts.

"There seems to be a role reversal in the role that the Dangerous Drugs Board plays. If they are taking marching orders from the president, (then) the president determines what goes into the policy," Tanguay said.

"They are missing a large part of their mandate," he added.

Tanguay said it would be impossible for any government to "eliminate all drugs and all drug users" as drug dependents will "continue to consume drugs whether or not there is a drug war."

"They just switch to using other types of drugs."

The analyst said Duterte's strategy of threatening drug users and reinforcing anti-narcotics operations are not enough to fulfill the president's campaign promise of making the Philippines drug-free.

"President Duterte was the mayor of Davao. He said he cleaned up Davao, and yet there were 9,000 people who surrendered from Davao when the campaign started," Tanguay said.

"How can he expect to clean up the whole country if in 27 years? He wasn't even successful in cleaning up his own city," he said.