NYC FilAms on Duterte’s War on Drugs

Nina Macapinlac at the “Marcos is No Hero” rally outside the Philippine Consulate building on Fifth Avenue. (Photo via Facebook)

With President Trump scheduled to visit the Philippines this week, The FilAm spoke to Filipino Americans in NYC for their thoughts on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Nina Macapinlac, coordinator at BAYAN-USA, an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino groups with four chapters in the metro area, “said Trump is supporting Duterte’s war on drugs by providing millions of dollars in military aid.”

“At Bayan, we want to build power among our communities here because Filipinos overseas are still part of the Filipino nation,” Macapinlac said in an interview with The FilAm. “We try to organize locally, raise awareness of what’s going on and educate people on why they should oppose this dictator.”

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The organization is also discussing ways to pressure the U.S. government to change policy. There is a law that prohibits the U.S. government from supporting armed forces or any governments that have a track record of violating human rights, Macapinlac said. The U.S. government is currently providing military aid despite the U.N.’s criticism of Duterte’s anti-drug policies.

According to the story, Duterte has the support of much of the Philippines, as well as of some in the NYC community, like school teacher Ernie Pamolarco, the chairman of the 100-member strong Die Hard Duterte Supporters.

Pamolarco last visited the Philippines one year ago, and he said the streets there are safer at night and crime and corruption are noticeably decreased.

“Peace-loving Filipinos like it,” Pamolarco said. “Who doesn’t want to live in peace? Obey the law. Don’t do crimes. Don’t do drugs. That’s it. It’s very simple if we follow the law.”

“To the opposition, however, the solution is not that simple,” writes Padilla. She interviews a local Filipino activist who had been a drug addict as a teen in the Philippines, and is now “trying to get people to realize that this is not a war on drugs.” Read more on why he can’t blame those who support Duterte, why Macapinlac says, “you can’t blame Duterte as an individual for everything,” and the rest of Padilla’s interviews at The FilAm.

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