Dela Rosa to visit Colombia: We’ll see how they won war on drugs

Bea Cupin
Dela Rosa to visit Colombia: We’ll see how they won war on drugs
The visit comes as the Philippines enters the third month of its 'war on drugs'

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa is set to visit Colombia “within the next month” to see for himself how they “won the war on drugs.”

Dela Rosa, who has been chief of the PNP for two months now, is among the key officials in President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs.”

Bibisita ako (I’m going to visit) Colombia. May plano kami baka within next month, bibisita kami don (We have plans to visit next month),” Dela Rosa told Rappler in a chance interview on Thursday, September 1, after the House of Representatives’ briefing for the Interior Department’s 2017 budget.

When asked why he was going to visit, Dela Rosa said: “to observe kung paano sila nanalo, kung ano ginawa para manalo sa war on drugs (how they won, what they did to win the war on drugs).”

A campaign to eradicate illegal drugs, crime, and corruption was among Duterte’s key promises during the 2016 presidential elections.

Both Duterte and Dela Rosa have argued that illegal drugs is the root cause of other forms of crime – from murder, to rape, and petty theft. Data from the PNP shows that since the “war on drugs,” was launched, the crime volume went down – save for the number of murder and homicide cases.

The campaign, so far, has been bloody. As it enters its third month, the death toll has breached the 2,000 mark, including those killed in legitimate police operations and extrajudicial killings.

Critics have cited the experience in other countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Thailand in battling drugs to hit the Duterte administration.

Tignan natin. Bakit ano, bakit malinis yung Colombia? Nalinis yung ibang lugar, yung Thailand?” said Dela Rosa, when asked about how critics mention other countries’ experiences in battling illegal drugs.

(Let’s see. But why is Colombia clean now? How come Thailand is now clean?)

Some have labeled Colombia’s decades-long war against illegal drugs as a “failure.”

Today, the country is “at the forefront of attempts to overhaul global narcotics policies,” according to a recent article on The Guardian. (READ: After 30 years on the frontline, Colombia looks beyond the failed war on drugs)

The same report noted that Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos recently planned to propose a “more human solution” to the problem of drugs during a recent United Nations general assembly.

It was a solution that “aims to fight the root causes of the problem in all its stages rather than just focusing on enforcement and prohibitionist policies.” –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.