I was able to get a limited dataset from the Philippine Department of Budget Management (DBM) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The numbers validated that despite more spending, drug use has not abated based on the increasing number of arrests. You would think that there would be less arrests after people are put to jail, the reality paints a different picture.
Drug War Spending
The DBM provided the annual budget of the PDEA in the General Appropriations Act.
The budget shows that bulk of the allocations are in personnel services aka salaries and benefits.
The PDEA website reported the persons arrested in 2013 and 2014 but only reported up to the first half of 2015. Was this deliberately done to show a reduction in arrests or out of embarrassment that the total figure for 2015 could be very much higher than 2014 considering that as of the first half of 2015, the total arrests have nearly equaled the number of arrests for the entire 2013.
Drug War Spending and Drug Arrests
When the spending and arrest data are overlaid, we can see that despite the increase in PDEA budget, the number of arrests are still increasing even faster than the PDEA budget.
The PDEA will point to the increased number of arrests as a proof of its effectiveness. I take the view that the arrests are an indicator of the widespread drug use because the numbers are still rising and without abatement.
This phenomenon is not new. One need only to look at the USA and its massive drug war spending – and drugs are still flooding the streets without let up.
Meanwhile, Portugal which has decriminalized drugs has seen a 50% reduction in drug addiction.
It is time for Filipino politicians to realize that they cannot stop the use of drugs among the people and a drug-free Philippines is just a pipe dream to destroy people’s lives under the guise of “protecting” them.
The state’s prohibition of drug use does not mean it cares that people might jump out of the 3rd floor of a building. Does the state show caring when the state funds vigilantes to execute drug users who have not even made an attempt to climb the 3rd floor?
The deeper fear of the state is that when people use drugs, people’s minds awake and expand to discuss topics that threaten the brainwashing of the state. For instance, a person who does not smoke weed or shabu will be thinking about their bills. In contrast, a person who has a buzz might be discussing a world without war, a world without government, where everyone is at peace – and that is an idea that the state is very afraid of.