MANILA – (UPDATED) The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is raising the red flag over Shanti Dope's song “Amatz.”
In a statement released Thursday, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino claimed that the lyrics of the song promotes the use of marijuana which runs contrary to the Duterte administration’s crusade against illegal drugs.
Part of its lyrics goes “lakas ng amats ko, sobrang natural, walang halong kemikal.” It also mentions “ito hinangad ko; lipadin ay mataas pa sa kayang ipadama sayo ng gramo, di bale ng musika ikamatay.”
“It appears that the singer was referring to the high effect of marijuana, being in its natural/organic state and not altered by any chemical compound,” Aquino said.
While saying it respects and appreciates local music artists, Aquino said: “We strongly oppose the promotion of musical pieces or songs that encourage the recreational use of drugs like marijuana and shabu. It is contrary to our fight against illegal drugs.”
PDEA has also recommended that songs of similar forms should be banned from being aired.
You can watch the music video of "Amatz" on YouTube:
In a statement released in response, Shanti Dope's management asked Aquino to "listen to the whole song, and not just take a few lines out of context."
They added: "To take apart a song and judge it based on certain lyrics that offend us is unfair to the songwriter; to presume that our reading of a song is the only valid one is offensive to an audience that might be more mature than we think."
The rapper's camp also said the proposed ban sets a "dangerous precedent for creative and artistic freedom in the country, when a drug enforcement agency can unilaterally decide on what a song is about, and call for its complete ban because it is presumed to go against government’s war on illegal drugs."
"This is a brazen use of power, and an affront to our right to think, write, create, and talk freely about the state of the nation."
The full statement can be read below: