THE recent pronouncement by President Rodrigo Duterte that the floating cocaine packages discovered and seized by authorities along the country’s coastlines represent an attempt by alleged Colombian drug cartels to introduce their illegal drug operations here, is a very alarming and dangerous development in the continuing war against drugs.
If what the President has said is true then the campaign by the government to eradicate illegal drugs has spiraled into a very perilous level and a dangerous trend where another international drug cartel, apart from the Chinese drug syndicates already operating here, is trying to introduce another high end type of drug called “cocaine.”
Now if the illegal drug “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is dubbed as the “poor man’s cocaine” the cocaine itself might also be called as the “rich man’s shabu” since this is usually the party drug or go to drug of the well to do and the rich.
Cocaine as history will tell us has been around far longer than shabu and has been considered for many years as the drug of choice of jetsetters and the more affluent party goers who seek that extra energy well into the early morning hours or even until the next day.
The reason why cocaine has not really gained a foothold in the country or popularity among the masses is because of its steep cost when compared to shabu or other types of illegal drugs. Shabu quickly gained popularity because of its low price and its euphoric effect which is similar to that of cocaine. Of course, now that shabu has been especially targeted by the government in its war against drugs the white crystalline substance has skyrocketed in price and resulted in the deaths of thousands of drug users and drug pushers.
With this development the Columbian drug cartels may well be only too eager to take advantage of the situation and promote their own kind of illegal drug product as an alternative to shabu. Obviously, cocaine is cost prohibitive at the moment but given the creativity of these drug cartels who knows if they can find a way to lower their price if only to attract the mid-level income group of drug users, or even those living near the poverty just to establish a foothold in the illegal drug market in the country.
This is indeed a very dangerous trend that if left unchecked by the government can lead to more difficulties in the continuing war on drugs.
There is really no easy way to prevent the entry of floating cocaine packages given the long and porous coastline borders of the Philippine archipelago. But perhaps a step in the right direction as suggested, to prevent further attempts at intrusion by these foreign drug syndicates using the country’s long coastlines is closer cooperation and collaboration with civilians and barangay officials living along these areas coupled with ready reward money to be given once validated information results in either seizure of illegal drugs or capture and arrest of members of illegal drug syndicates.
Whatever measure can be thought up by the government it must be implemented soon if it hopes to prevent the further proliferation of floating cocaine packages in the country.