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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, July 20, 2016
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In loco parentis


La Consolacion College, Bacolod honored four of its faculty with the “In Loco Parentis Award” for excellence in their profession. We congratulate them for deserving an award that recognizes their being competent “in place of the parents”.

The Latin phrase describing the award does not mean that the parents had “gone loco” but rather the teachers did their jobs like parents who are deeply concerned with the development and success of their children. Indeed since time immemorial teachers had always been considered “in loco parentis”. They exercised parental authority over the children in lieu of parents and are tasked to insure that the children grow like Jesus as described in the Bible, “in wisdom and in age”.

Where the “gone loco parents” award should go is to the parents of the 6,071 people who surrendered as of Monday,claiming they are drug users or drug pushers. The failure or collapse of parental guidance contributed largely todrug use while the failure of government has led to drug pushers and lords. Indeed the government is like a parent with a larger family.

If people have gone loco,it is mainly because parents failed in their duties as parents. Many are at a loss in this day and age of how to handle their children. The result is that their children had gone loco, not the Latin “in place” but the Spanish adjective which means “mad” or “crackbrained”. Of course our own language has adopted the Spanish term and its meaning but not the Latin although we know the word, “location” whose root word is the Latin “loco”.

We had always been aware of the drug problem but we are fed by the police that the situation is under control. Civil officials sing the same tune fearful that a surge of drug use or trading would make them look incompetent or corrupt. Indeed they were not acting like solicitous parents to troubled children – their communities.

There are close to 100,000 claimants in the country since last month to being drug user or pusher. They are like children who came out and told their parents – the government and society at large as their family – asking for help. Killing them when they fight back has forced them to come out and admit what was then a shameful and criminal habit. Now they are out and needing help.

President Duterte probably never imagined the magnitude of this social and psychological problem. He probably thought it only in terms of commission of a crime which is true, but deep down into the problem as studies all over the world has shown, these are people in grave need of help.

Drugs are escape mechanisms. They deaden the senses, dull the mind and unleash inherent inhibitions. It is an escape from reality, from pain, for isolation, from poverty, from social pressure and above all an absence of spirituality. In sum it is an absence of acceptance and love which in a family can only be provided by parents and siblings.

In most instances the drug users find comfort outside of the family. They find a new “family” free of pressures – the drug and the people who like them are seeking for peace and escape.

What should the government do now with these users and pushers? The former need rehabilitation, the latter answers to their economic wants. In many instances the pushers claim that is their only way to earn a living. It is an abominable way of earning income but what else is there? It is difficult to answer because each problem is unique to the person.

The drug lords and manufacturers are criminals who prey on the helpless and should be dealt with accordingly. Should they be killed? They are already being killed because they “resisted”. Most people agree to this solution. If punishment should fit the crime, that retribution must be demanded, the drug lords and traders have much to pay for the lives and futures they destroyed.

There is a proposal to impose the death penalty on drug lords. In nearby Malaysia and Indonesia, pushers get to hang. Hanging seems to be the favorite of Duterte and many agree. It is clean, cheap and unerring. A national debate will begin when Congress convenes before the month's end so we will wait what will come out.

The government is also “in loco parentis” and it, too, has much to account for the proliferation of drugs.*



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