The Liberal Party of The Philippines is well known to have indelible links with many so-called “deep state” bodies and individuals in Washington. A pervasive colonial mentality among Liberals continues to raise opposition against President Rodrigo Duterte’s multipolar foreign policy pivot, while in other areas many Liberals simply recite the policy scripts handed to them from US based so-called NGOs.
But Duterte’s latest proposals to help intensify the fight against narcotics related violent crime are something that would hardly be controversial in most parts of the United States. As part of Duterte’s crack down on public officials who receive money from or otherwise turn a blind eye to the horrific drug problem in the country, the President warned Barangay (village) leaders that they would be severely punished if they did not enforce laws against the narcotics trade and the broader drug culture.
Likewise, Duterte proposed arming effective Barangay chiefs in an effort to empower ethical leaders who would responsibly help the police to enforce existing anti-narcotics laws for the benefit of a public terrorised by violent drug takers, dealers and traffickers. According to Duterte,
“I might consider arming you. I will ask the police and the intelligence community. If you are really into it, the crime, I will support you and may grant you permission to carry firearms”.
Duterte reiterated that all final decisions on the matter and all powers to arrest and detain would be with police but that in cases of urgency, it would become important for local leaders to arm themselves against violent narco-criminals, while also helping police to keep the streets free from drugs.
When Duterte was the mayor of Davao city, he was often on the front lines of the war against drugs. Not content to merely sit behind his desk and issue proclamations, Duterte helped to empower the people of Davao so that it was the narco-criminals who feared the normal public, as opposed to the situation that was previously pervasive where innocent people feared being murdered, raped, robbed or assaulted by those on drugs.
But while Duterte’s proposal to arm local leaders may seem novel to some, in the United States – the country most beloved by Duterte’s Liberal opponents, such schemes are relatively common. The United States Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms and while some localities have restricted the interpretation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, throughout much of America, gun ownership is as common as car ownership and more common than home ownership.
Many US communities, especially those in areas considered unsafe, form so-called “neighborhood watch” groups. These groups of concerned citizens patrol their area and work with police to apprehend criminals. Increasingly, neighborhood watch groups are arming themselves with guns, including automatic rifles, as both a precaution against crime and as a deterrent to criminals. In some cases, local police even formally deputise armed citizen patrols, thus giving them the power to arrest suspected criminals.
Duterte has frequently warned American critics of his drug war that if the US does not take action against its own drug problem that “One day to your horror (you will realise), your problem is 100 times more serious than what we have”.
Duterte’s Liberal critics have been fast to lambaste his proposals to prosecute corrupt local officials while arming those who want to take a direct approach to keeping their streets safe. These of course are the same Liberals who think that if The Philippines, an Asian nation, simply adopted all of the characteristics of the United States, that somehow every national crisis would be solved.
Yet when Duterte proposes a crime fighting solution that has long been employed in the United States in an even more wide reaching form than that which Duterte has proposed, the Liberal Party offers nothing but resounding criticism. This yet again proves that the role of the Liberal Party is not to oppose Duterte in a constructive sense, but simply to obstruct his proposals in the most counterproductive manner imaginable.