By Joe Zaldarriaga

Peace and order crucial to economic development

January 17, 2023, 11:20 am

Peace and order have proven to have a direct positive impact on businesses. It is believed that where there is peace, good opportunities that can support the private sector will follow such as more customers, qualified employees, local suppliers and investors.

This is why the Philippines, under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., has continued its drive against illegal drug trade. Only two weeks into 2023, police personnel have already seized millions worth of shabu from various drug bust operations across the archipelago.

Earlier this month, anti-narcotics agents led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Las Pinas City Police Station, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport Authority’s Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group, arrested a claimant of parcel from Nigeria containing shabu said to be worth PHP89.5 million.

In a separate operation on Jan. 2, the PDEA and BOC intercepted worth PHP13.8 million of shabu hidden in sports water bottle shipments from Thailand. The parcels were seized at a package shipping and distribution facility in Pasay City after investigation showed suspicious X-ray scans which turned out to be white crystalline substances wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil.

In Isabela, a 35-year-old public school teacher -- tagged as one of the highest value drug criminals in the province -- was nabbed for selling three sachets of shabu to undercover PDEA agents. While in Cebu City, PDEA dismantled two drug dens where eight individuals, including a 68-year-old senior citizen, were arrested.

These anti-drug operations are in effect not only among the citizenry, but within the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well. At present, the PNP is embroiled in a war against its own, after a series of controversies involving law enforcers in the frontlines of the drug crackdown were caught engaged in drug dealing.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. officially called on police personnel, from colonels to generals, to submit their “courtesy resignations”, in the government’s bid to protect the integrity of the country’s police force and cleanse the entire organization from any links to illegal drugs.

As of writing, 904 of them, representing 95 percent of senior generals and full colonels of the PNP have heeded Abalos’ call. They will undergo lifestyle check, which is part of the efforts of the five-man committee that will assess the courtesy resignations and make a recommendation to the President.

As the series of events unravel in the coming weeks, Filipinos await with bated breath on the results of the intensive investigations. Under Abalos, there is assurance that the process is founded on transparency and integrity, and that all those found liable, whatever his/her rank may be, will be given due sanctions.

The country’s peace and order, after all, are crucial to luring business confidence and investments, which are truly vital to the country’s development. According to a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace, “Economic performance and peace are often mutually reinforcing.”

This means that there is a cycle formed between peace and economy. Peace brings about economic growth, and better economy assists in building long-lasting peace. How we foster both is crucial to how we move forward as a nation. 

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.