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Sebastian: Shabu trade in PH is like an MLM business --Dave Luchansky

By Jourdan Sebastian

The shabu trade in the Philippines can be likened to a multi-level marketing business. It involves downlines, distributors and the corresponding compensation and membership structures. The only main difference between the two, aside from the products involved, are the penalties for non-performing distributors or agents.
Dave Luchansky
PTPA Dave Luchansky
In the normal MLM's, distributors are usually penalized by depriving them of their commissions and compensations and in some cases they lose their membership and perks.

In the drug trade, non-performing distributors are disciplined through the threat of bodily harm for them or their loved ones. And if they still don't perform according to quota... they or their family members pay the cost of their unaccounted products with their lives.

That is why retention is high... and attrition rate is literal.

A released merchandized in the drug trade is considered sold. A distributor is in for life.

Yes, not all addicts deal in drugs. But strongly considering that most addicts in the Philippines are poor, with no livelihood and source of income left to fund their addicting lifestyle... most resort to drug dealing. If not, they pursue another form of crime just to sustain their drug consumption. Unless they have unlimited source of income or rich parents who unknowingly or knowingly fund their addictions.

And we wonder why thousands of poor drug addicts are getting killed? We ask ourselves why innocent by-standers are getting caught in the cross-fire.

When this administration initiated their so-called "war against drugs", they set a chain of events that affected not just thousands of Filipinos but hundreds of thousands who are trading in shabu. I am saying hundreds of thousands of Filipinos because we are talking of BILLIONS worth of merchandize that are being confiscated in an almost regular basis.

How many "distributors" do you think are involved to maintain a multi-billion peso industry? An enterprise that involves sales packages of as little as php100 or less per item.

How much do poor addicts have to owe for them to be killed by their suppliers? They say guns-for-hire would kill for less than Php5,000.

Understanding more how the drug trade works in the grassroots, will give us a better idea who are truly behind these killings of both users, dealers and also innocent Filipinos who have a relative involved in the drug trade.

My work involves going to far-reaching provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. And in one of my trips I had a conversation with an addict who truly wanted to get out of his predicament of not only drug use but sales as well. He told me that a packet of shabu are sold in sari-sari stores for as little as php30-50. The pre-packed single-use shabu packs were wittingly called "Magic Sarap".

I heard of another story right here in Metro Manila. A known addict and small time dealer living in the slums left the city when the government implemented the Tokhang campaign. After a few months in the province, thinking that his "upline" has forgotten about him, he returned to the city. Less than a month later, he was shot dead in his own home by unknown assailants.

Was he killed by the police? Was he killed by assassins? Whatever the case, he was killed not just because he was a threat of exposing his "upline" but more because he had unaccounted merchandize that he did not pay for because he could no longer sell. How many of these so-called EJK killings are similar to this guy? But we can agree that a lot (maybe not all) of these reported cases had similar scenarios.

I sincerely like to believe the western concept that the drug problem in our country is just a "health issue". And health programs are what it would take to solve the drug problem. But I have a different perspective if anyone would really care to listen.

I believe the drug menace involving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Filipinos is a poverty problem. And because it involves illegal activities with criminals on the top of the food chain, it is then a crime problem.

I am not an expert on Crime Prevention. So I can not even think to believe that I know how to solve this massive crime problem in the Philippines. But this is what I know, give an individual purpose and respect... give them the equal dignity and capacity to work for their welfare... give them a CHANCE to CHANGE and some...if not a majority will turn away from their life of desperation and to a life of destiny.

Desperation is one of the things that pushes people towards crime. That and greed. But that is another topic altogether.

When desperation is real for millions of Filipinos then we can expect crime to proliferate more and more. But when we take away desperation and replace it with opportunities and livelihood through the private sector and the proper basic services that the government can and should give the people then we shall experience this decline in poverty and eventually crime.

We admire some countries that we see on social media that claim to have closed down their prisons because of lack of "customers". How is the economic well-being of those countries? How are their government services?

Now there are international institutions condemning this administration's campaign against drugs. From their posh offices in New York or Geneva, without even visiting the Philippines or talking to the people involved in the problem they are claiming to solve... What is their proposal? "Hit the Philippines where it hurts most... trade."

They are lobbying to the world to reduce our aid, our grants, our foreign investments and ultimately to collapse our already broken and desperate economy riddled with corruption.

To those that support this idea and this call... Here is what I have to ask... Whose side are you really on?

Do we really want to stop the killings? Then stop corruption. Stop poverty. Stop the desperation that our people are in. Let us truly seek and work for programs that bring prosperity and freedom for our citizens. Let us not create more problems by creating more poor and desperate people but let's start creating more livelihood, more enterprise, more opportunities for those that need them the most. Crime, poverty and drugs are all rooted in disconnection and brokenness. For those that truly want to end these evil things, I hope we can hear more solutions offering healing and wholeness and connection. This is true for those that do and don't believe in the "War Against Drugs".

I believe in the double-barrel approach. For those that don't want to change... let the firm and courageous arm of the law neutralize their harmful and murderous ways. But for those that seek redemption... let us accept them with the open-arms of compassion.

Thank you for taking the time in reading this post.

At the end, I believe that with all the opinions and rants out there it will only be true courage and compassion that can guide us towards true, practical and impactful solutions. Mabuhay kayo at mabuhay ang mapayapa at masaganang Pilipinas

Sebastian: Shabu trade in PH is like an MLM business --Dave Luchansky Sebastian: Shabu trade in PH is like an MLM business --Dave Luchansky Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 7:47:00 PM Rating: 5

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