UAE will give no refuge to drug traffickers

One way or another - whether in a dark alleyway in Manila or in an Abu Dhabi apartment - Duterte will find you.

The news that the Philippines' number two most wanted drug trafficker, Kerwin Espinosa, will come as welcome news to Filipinos, a vast majority of whom will take it as a sign that President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs is picking up pace - even thousands of miles away from their homeland. While many foreign leaders and organisations have expressed concern over the way the struggle against drug traffickers has been carried out - such as the marked increase in extrajudicial killings - the simple fact is that a majority of Filipinos think that Duterte is rectifying a serious problem the country faces. A recent poll showed that Duterte's approval rating among Filipinos is at high as 86 per cent. In Mindanao, his approval rating soars above 90 percent. It should be noted, of course, that during his tenure as mayor of Davao City, an estimated 1,400 extrajudicial killings of criminals were recorded between 1998 and May of this year.
By following Espinosa from the Philippines to Southeast Asia and then the UAE, President Duterte's government has sent a clear warning to other gangsters of Espinosa's ilk: there is no escaping the law. One way or another - whether in a dark alleyway in Manila or in an Abu Dhabi apartment - Duterte will find you. The arrest is also a testament to the strong cooperation that UAE law enforcement authorities have developed with their counterparts' abroad. The raid itself - which was the result of intelligence sharing between the Philippine National Police and authorities in Abu Dhabi - is a model that can, and will, be replicated whenever criminals make the foolish mistake of considering the UAE as a safe haven. Sadly - despite the strong message sent - Espinosa's arrest will have little long-term effect on the Philippines' drug problem. Drug trafficking is a social ill, and as some European countries and the US have begun to realise, the only real solution is a social one that addresses the root of the problem, rather than being solely a law enforcement issue.

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