Urban poor to benefit from continued war vs illegal drugs, criminality — PCUP

MANILA-- The Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) on Thursday said that while the Duterte administration's war against illegal drugs and criminality is mostly concentrated in poor communities, the urban poor stands to benefit from the continued drug war.

In a press briefing in MalacaAang, PCUP chair Terry Ridon said that although the drug war affects poor Filipinos, it is also in the interest of the poor and the urban poor communities for the drug problem and for criminality to be resolved in many of their areas.

I think in respect to the drug war, it is in the interest of the poor and the urban poor to really see that criminality and the drug problem is resolved within their communities, he said.

Obviously it is unfortunate that several of the people in the poor communities are affected by it. But I think within these communities, if you go to those areas, there would be at the very least an affirmation that responding to criminality and the drug problem is really a very important step towards nation-building, Ridon said.

However, the former youth representative at the House of Representatives said that other dimension towards resolving the problem is also needed to be undertaken more aggressively.

Ridon said many of the agencies, even in particular the PCUP, has been trying to implement particular interventions -- including what he termed as the softer approach -- in respect to the demand side of the drug problem.

PCUP has launched 'Urban Poor Kontra Droga' in several cities already and this really aims to provide the softer approach towards the drug war. And I think this is something that many of the line agencies would really want to undertake already, he said.

Ridon also cited the Departments of Health (DOH) and Social Welfare (DSWD) for doing their part in terms of really undertaking the community rehabilitation programs in responding to the drug problem.

But he said that the softer approach is really about pushing the community leaders to the forefront of resolving the crisis.

When we speak about it, we really speak about empowering the communities in responding to the drug problem. Ultimately in implementing the drug war, you will have the community leaders in those areas that should be able to really shepherd many of the communities against drugs, he said.

That is what we would really want to do: empowering the people's organizations, the NGOs within these urban poor communities to really stand against drugs and help government in resolving the drug problem, Ridon said.

Source: Philippines News Agency