Even before Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez raised his alarm over increased drug activities in three barangays in Bogo City, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported the rising incidence of women drug pushers in the country.
The conviction of Kenyan national Aisha Ogutu last month may have been an early signal even before Cebu police listed some women traffickers as either level 2 or 3 drug pushers.
Level 2 or 3 pushers are those who can dispose of at least one kilo of shabu or other illegal drug in a week.
Aside from Ogutu’s arrest, the death sentence was imposed on at least one Filipina convicted of drug trafficking in China.
With women serving as “pillars of the household” (haligi ng tahanan) especially when their husbands work overseas, the PDEA disclosure simply dramatizes a disturbing trend in which widespread poverty pushes everyone over the brink of desperation.
If some women in particular and parents in general can go as far as peddle their children for prostitution, whether real or on line, it’s not a stretch for others to engage in drug trafficking.
Martinez’s disclosure about high school gangs in Cebu City recruiting gullible teens in Bogo City as drug couriers is just one symptom of the ever-growing drug menace in the country.
As a business, drug trafficking doesn’t lack for a steady stream of customers from either high society and the middle class, thus assuring a perverse “return of investment.”
How to solve this?
With a coordinated grassroots level approach.
By involving families, the community and tapping sectoral stakeholders, our local officials can take the lead in purge the drug problem from our midst.
Martinez’s political foes say that the mayor’s claims are tainted since the barangays in question are headed by local officials identified with his bitter rival, Rep. Benhur Salimbangon of Cebu’s 4th district.
But before they cry politicking, officials should check out the mayor’s claims and see what solutions can be reached to fight a problem that affects everyone across the board.
It’s up to communities and their officials to combat this growing evil.