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Killing not a solution

11 June 2018

Our guest columnist for this issue is Christine, otherwise known as #395450 at Lowu Correctional Institute, where she is serving a long prison sentence for drug trafficking. This is the second time Christine has written for us. The first time, she wrote of how her faith in God has helped her overcome her shock and distress in finding herself in “this dark tunnel, a life in prison.” This issue she writes about an issue close to her heart, the reported mass killings of suspected drug users and traffickers in the Philippines. She laments, why focus on drugs alone? Why not try to find a solution to poverty and corruption? And why kill drug users and pushers? Killing is not a solution…”


Whenever I open the newspaper I often read about what’s happening to my homeland, the Philippines. It is the country where I was born and raised, but here I am in Hong Kong, not as an overseas Filipino worker, but as a prisoner. When my family and friends learned that I was arrested for drug trafficking they were aghast. No one believed it until they confirmed it through the news online. But even I still ask myself how I got involved in this kind of trouble.

But I do not blame anyone because I believe that I must take responsibility for everything that I did in my life. I should not blame other people if the decisions and plans I made have been unsuccessful.
When I read the news I feel so much pain, knowing that there are lots of my countrymen who have died because of the (government’s) campaign or the war against drugs. They are killing pushers, traffickers, drug dealers and all people who involved in drugs. But the one thing that hurts me most is that even the young and the innocent are being killed.

They’re taking the lives of Filipinos as easy as that. In my own opinion, it’s all extrajudicial killing. What kind of law do we have?

It’s been two years since I was arrested. I was sentenced to 14 years and 8 months, and here I am in Lowu, with 12 more years to serve behind bars.

I can say that most of us knew (that we were being used as drugs mules) but some are  innocent. But there are big reasons why we ended up here. Some were threatened, some were tricked, and some really didn’t know. All of us have a story to tell.

I committed a crime and I have already accepted that I need to pay for the consequences of breaking the law.

But, prisoners still need to be heard. It feels like the Philippines has already dumped us, that we don’t have the right anymore to seek help.

Prisoners are still human beings with feelings, and should not be treated as just convicts. We still have families back home who love us and are waiting for our return. Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes, and some like myself are now in prison because of this.

But our misdeeds are being corrected here and we also help reform ourselves, unlike thousands of real criminals who are still on the loose.

Maybe if the Philippine government is able to provide jobs for many, maybe if there is an opportunity to find a good job so that we can have a normal life, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

But some people are just too judgmental. They think a convicted person is useless, and will always be a threat to society. Why? Why is it so easy for people to see the mistakes of others and not their own?
Why do they keep thinking drug mules are a menace to the society? We’re also victims of this dangerous world, we are only humans, after all. Don’t put all the blame on us.

There are a lot of problems and issues that the government must tackle, not just drugs. Instead of focusing only on drugs, why not try to find a solution to poverty and corruption, when we all know these are the biggest problems that need to resolved?

Killing is not a solution!

We have the right to be given a second chance. We may be prisoners but we are still absolutely normal and not just criminals.

We need support but we are not getting it because they are all afraid of our leaders and the campaign against drugs. They’d all rather remain silent.

If our country cannot be a safe place for people who get involved in drugs, where will I go after I am released, tell me?

But I am not losing hope. I keep the faith and pray to God to open the eyes of prejudiced people so they can accept us and our mistakes so we can have a fair chance in life… for a better future.

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