DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Davao Region (PDEA-11) expressed support to the decision of its head office to ban Shanti Dope’s song “Amatz.”
The support came despite the backlash and criticisms the agency received in the past week from various groups, including some personalities in the music industry.
“Director General Aaron Aquino was bashed over his comments over Shanti Dope. (But) I fully support the position of DG Aquino in this call to ban this song that promotes Marijuana use,” PDEA-Davao assistant regional director Lawyer Behn Joseph Tesiorna said during the sidelines of the flag ceremony at the City Hall grounds on Monday.
According to Tesiorna, music affects the subconscious mind of a person.
“But I would like to remind the public that music has a subtle influence on our minds,” he said.
The song “Amatz,” the PDEA said, is promoting the use of Marijuana that the country continues to consider as illegal.
The use of Marijuana runs contrary to the continuing war against illegal drugs of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Part of its lyrics says, “lakas ng amats ko, sobrang natural, walang halong kemikal.”
“Although personally, I haven’t heard of this song yet, but I would like to remind the public, especially the listening population, that you may be unaware that this listening to that music will convince you that it is fine to use Marijuana,” Tesiorna said.
He also warned the younger generation, noting that they are the ones most influenced by music.
“Marijuana is dangerous to you young people. The young people are very prone to this influence of music and other media,” Tesiorna said.
Among the groups that expressed opposition to the decision of PDEA is LODI or the Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity.
LODI, in a statement slammed the agency and said it backs the rapper and songwriter.
The group said it “stand squarely behind Shanti Dope and his and the public’s right to free expression, and condemn the PDEA for overreaching its mandate by venturing into censorship.”
The group chides PDEA for “falsely and maliciously interpreting ‘Amatz’ or any song for that matter.”
PDEA’s proposal to the Television network ABS-CBN, the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) and to the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to ban the song is “illegal and unconstitutional,” the group LODI added.
“President Duterte himself has admitted that the drug problem has not been solved, despite the brutal extrajudicial killings,” LODI said.
“Perhaps this is due partly to PDEA wasting time and effort in music criticism and attempts at censorship. PDEA should focus on big-time drug syndicates including those associated with the regime,” the group added.
LODI also slammed PDEA over its attempt to act beyond its mandate in censoring media.
“The Constitution and the law creating PDEA do not grant it that authority. Neither can presidential orders or feelings,” it said.
“PDEA should spare the nation from further embarrassment by stopping its battle against Shanti Dope. Shanti Dope and free expression are not the enemies,” it added. (davaotoday.com)