February 28, 2017
Don't go back knocking on doors, knock out ASG instead - Recto
Instead of resuming its door-to-door tokhang operations to plead drug users to quit, government should "knock out bigger threats like the Abu Sayyaf and other local ISIS groups," Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said today.
But if ever the war on drugs should be scaled up, then it must be to plug the source, Recto said, referring to "shabu factories."
"To dry up demand, you must stop the supply," he said. "It's like a pipe with many holes. Instead of patching it one by one, why not just shut off the main?" Recto said.
"I will concede that the war against drugs should continue. But it should be on the manufacturing front. Instead of knocking on homes, the police should be battering down gates of shabu labs," Recto said.
But if there is "one group of addicts" government should run after, then it must be the "murderous Abu Sayyaf," Recto said.
"There will be zero public outcry if there will be a rise in the number of Abu Sayyaf killed. It is the kind of body count the people would welcome," Recto said.
"These terrorists have been in the beheading business for 25 years now. Isang henerasyon na. Dapat nang tuldukan," he said.
Recto, however, admitted that the 24 hostages the ISIS-affiliate group is holding are what prevent the military from unleashing its full might for fears that they will be harmed in the crossfight.
"I think even the President can only privately curse them kasi baka magwala at saktan ang mga bihag. Imagine, even the President's trademark in effect has been taken hostage by this group," he said.
Recto described the ASG as the "most violent criminal syndicate" in the country today, saying that its "barbarity" has already made it among Asia's most brutal groups.
"In terms of damage to the national image, the Abu Sayyaf has caused more than what a hundred drug syndicates had done," Recto said.
While total loot of Abu Sayyaf has been estimated to be more than a billion pesos, what is hard to quantify are the losses they had inflicted on the economy, Recto said.
"Lands are idled by farmers too afraid to till, vacation plans are cancelled by tourists who are discouraged by bad publicity, investments are aborted," he added.
Recto said one immediate concern is to stop the Abu Sayyaf from snatching more hostages. "Their inventory of captives for ransom must not increase. "
"There could be hindrances in rescuing hostages. But none in preventing them from kidnapping more," he said.
"What is giving our image a black eye is that while we are too afraid to fish in our waters for fear of the Chinese, here are these bad guys who are using these waters as kidnap grounds," he lamented.
Many of the Abu Sayyaf hostages were grabbed on boats transiting through Philippine waters in the unprotected Southern backdoor.
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