1 in 4 drug users in PH unemployed – NAPC study

MANILA, Philippines – Around 26% of the 2.3 million drug users in the country are unemployed, a review by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) found. 

During the commission's budget hearing in the Senate on Thursday, August 24, NAPC chief Liza Maza presented the initial findings of their study, based on the statistics provided by the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) in 2015. 

Maza said that 67% of drug users are working while 26% are not working. She also mentioned that 7 in 100 drug users are students.  

Figures also showed that majority of those using illegal drugs belong to the poor sector. (READ: Is Duterte's '4 million drug addicts' a 'real number'?)

"From the 2015 data, karamihan ay doon sa second quintile of the poorest ang maraming drug users. Ibig sabihin lang nito hindi doon sa pinakamahihirap," she said, explaining that these refer to those just above the poverty line.  

(Most of the users are from the second quintile of the poor. This means they are not among the poorest.) 

"Mahirap din 'yan eh... mga mahihirap na populasyon, they are not middle class... kaya masasabi pa rin natin na iyong mga droga, laganap sa ating poor communities," she said. 

(They are still part of the poor. They are not middle class.... That's why we can still say that drug use is still prevalent in poor communities.) 

Maza said they do not have the data on the prevalence of drug-related deaths in the poor communities after being asked by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, who presided the budget hearing. 

Aquino asked Maza to submit to the Senate a study on the demographic distribution of victims of the drug war. 

In an interview after the hearing, Maza said they will be finalizing their study to provide the Senate's requirements. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs'

"As to how much is their annual income, that entails research, but we may not have time to locate where they are. We may consider adding to the study the type of community [the victims are living in]," she said. 

The drug war, now in its second year, has been criticized for targetting the poor. (READ: Youth leaders ask Duterte: Where's all-out drug war vs rich, powerful?)

Public outrage against it was sparked when Caloocan City cops appeared to have killed 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in an anti-drug operation.

Witnesses, a CCTV footage, and the results of an autopsy and paraffin test showed the boy was executed, contrary to policemen's claims that he fired the first shot. – Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.