What Colombia has learned from decades-long drug war

Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2016 06:18 PM | Updated as of Sep 26 2016 11:28 PM

COLOMBIA-- Over 30 years since Colombia waged their war on drugs and yet the country remains as the top producer of coca leaves used to make cocaine.

According to political analyst Alfonso Cuellar, Colombia has had its share of successes and failures in its war on drugs. 

The country has been successful in defeating big and serious criminal syndicates like the Medellin drug cartel, which threatened the democracy of the Colombian state.

However, the country failed to totally stop the production of coca leaves with big syndicates being replaced by small drug groups.

A July 2016 report of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime shows that the drug business in Colombia is booming.

According to the report, coca cultivation continues to rise in Colombia with a 40 percent increase in coca crop area from 69,000 hectares in 2014 to 96,000 hectares in 2015.

Meanwhile, drug policy expert Hernando Zambrano explains that the war on drugs is aimed at improving security measures to make people feel safer.

"Within the society of chasing criminals, some studies prove that it was extremely inefficient. You can have local victories but the global business is there and it's still gonna be there unless we change our perspective," Zambrano said.

In an opinion piece in The Guardian, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the global drug policy should be changed with human rights as the main framework.

"Drug policy should be framed on human rights to stop victimizing the victims of drug abuse," Santos said.

Cuellar added that the use of the word 'war tends to confuse things when the real problem issue is law enforcement and health.

Philippine National Police Chief Roland "Bato" dela Rosa recently visited Colombia to study the country's war on drugs.