Collusion or Collision? The War on Drugs in the Philippines

Francisco J. Lara Jr., Nikki Philline C. De La Rosa

“The spiral of State-led violence against the illegal drug trade in Southeast Asia neither ended nor disrupted this shadow economy and its complex links to state and non-state actors as well as to the newly emerging violent extremism. The evidence in fact shows that the violent response to the problem has only fuelled more economic, political, and security concerns. This is the case in the Philippines where an indiscriminate and violent war on drugs has not lived up to its promises. Yet why is there continued public support for the anti-drug war despite its failures, particularly from among those who are often victimized by its violence? This paper takes an economic sociology approach to the problem of illegal drugs and turns the spotlight on the threats to embedded social networks posed by this deadly enterprise.”