The role of local officials in the antidrug campaign

The government’s antidrug campaign has many moving parts, with the police and local governments taking the lead. This paper examines the role of mayors and barangay captains in executing the national government’s antidrug program.

A geographical mapping of the drug-related killings in the barangay and district levels of Quezon City and the City of Manila indicate the extent to which local officials may have facilitated – or resisted – the punitive approach of the police. This paper asks pointed questions on whether and to what extent the local officials committed gross negligence and dereliction of duty by allowing a high death toll in their jurisdictions, thus threatening the security, safety, and human rights of their constituents.

Looking at the relatively small number of drug-related deaths in areas where there are strong community-based drug rehabilitation programs, the paper says that community leaders (e.g. barangay officials, church leaders, police) can work together to pursue a more restorative approach to illegal drug use, an approach that is also consistent with the duty of local officials to ensure the general welfare of their citizens.

The paper, authored by the Ateneo Policy Center, can be downloaded through the Social Science Research Network.