Duterte, the Americans, the Chinese, and the communists


President Duterte has three main priorities: one, kill drug lords and those guilty of heinous crimes like rape and murder; two, extricate something practical and profitable from the Philippine territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea; and three, share power with the communist rebels to bring to an end the longest communist insurgency in the world. Relatedly, for the Muslim separatist rebels, President Rody offers nothing short of federalism—a concept grand as a vision but mind-boggling in its execution.

Priority No. 1—drugs, is a no brainer. The facts are stark and disturbing: Consider the following:

• 1.7-million Filipinos are drug addicts.
• 20 percent of the country’s 43,000 barangays are hit by drug-related crimes
• Drug lords live like kings at the National Penitentiary.
• Low-level drug cases clog court dockets and delay justice.
• Higher purity methamphetamine from Mexico supplanting less pure Chinese-sourced methamphetamine.
• Bulk shipments still come from China, largely controlled by Chinese organized criminal groups.
• Drug couriers use flights to the Philippines both to smuggle drugs into the country and to trans-ship drugs to other countries.