Bucking the world-wide trend to liberalize drug laws, the Philippines follows the U.S., China, Iraq, Iran, and a handful of others and gets tougher on drug users. The Philippines will no doubt be drug-free in a few days. If for some inexplicable reason, this policy doesn't do the trick, we can look forward to watching executions every year, just like in China.


PRESIDENT APPROVES TOUGH ANTI-DRUGS LAW

"I WOULD like to appeal to the drug traffickers to immediately close down
their business. Otherwise, the law will catch up on them."

Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, south) issued this call after President
Arroyo signed into law yesterday the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of
2002, or Republic Act 9165.

All Fields

RA 9165 covers all fields of the drug trade: supply, denial of supply, law
enforcement, education, drug testing and the creation of new implementing
arm of the law.

"I want to deliver a message to all illegal drug traffickers to immediately
close their business. They have no future. If they are caught, they will be
punished with a life (imprisonment) or death (sentence)," Cuenco told
Sun.Star yesterday.

RA 9165 distinguishes drug trafficking from possession.

Those caught for drug trafficking, immaterial of quantity, will be imposed
the death penalty.

Possession of drugs, on the other hand, will be dealt with graduated
penalties.

Life imprisonment to death penalty and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10
million shall be imposed on any person caught with 10 grams or more of
opium, morphine, heroin and cocaine; 50 grams of shabu; and 500 grams or
more of marijuana.

To ensure the strict monitoring system of the law, the bicameral conference
committee created an oversight committee consisting of seven congressmen and
seven senators.

Education Campaign

The committee will also go into "an intense education campaign" for the new
law.

Cuenco, chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs, will hold a press
conference today on the important features of the new law.

Other members of the committee, among them Reps. Raul del Mar (Cebu City,
north) and Nerissa Soon-Ruiz (Cebu, 6th district) and some PNP officers from
Camp Crame, including Narcotics Command Chief Efren Fernandez, will also be
at the press conference.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Osmena was one of the six opposition senators invited
to the President's signing in Malacanang of the Dangerous Drugs Act and
three other bills they co-authored.

However, Cuenco said only Sen. Vicente Sotto attended the signing.

The other bills also signed into law were the Plant Variety Registration and
Protection Act, the salary increase for members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, and the establishment of the Film Council of the Philippines.
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