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Safety in the Philippines

Safety in the Philippines in general and drug-related killings in particular, have been world-wide news lately.

Yes, it is a problem but it’s important not to over react. I lived in London for many years and shootings, mainly drug related and often black on black, were common currency and probably still are.

Firearms are readily accessible here and so is shabu. Shabu is a form of methamphetamine and is highly addictive. President Duterte has sworn to eradicate the drug trade by use of some controversial methods.

As a veteran of the so called “war on drugs,” I am no longer convinced that such a “war” is winnable and the world needs to try alternatives to the present system of prohibition.  I have written at some length about these issues on my author website.

This country is full of contrasts. Abject poverty cheek and jowl with luxury cars, fancy restaurants and substantial residences.

One of the greatest contrasts of all is the sheer overpowering natural friendliness of Filipinos as a nation and the brutal slayings that take place all too often.

Bacolod is not Manila but it is not immune from violence on the streets.

safety in the philippines
Photo Credit: (Aksyon Radyo Bacolod Photo)

Only two days back Zabrina came back from her morning trip to the market to tell me about  a shooting just a couple of kilometers away from where we live.  The result was horrific with one man shot dead while sat in a local jeepney. The story goes that one young female student, also a passenger on the same jeepney, ended up unscathed but covered in blood from the victim’s wounds. She was on her way to take an exam.

This is where I particularly loath these criminals. Why involve and put at risk innocent kids and passers-by? Go shoot each other if you so choose but not in the streets and not exposing innocents to the prospect of real harm. Even better, throw away your weapons, go to an isolated place and use your fists like real men instead of the cowardly criminals that you really are.

For those interested, here is a round-up of the recent local Bacolod news titled 2 Dead 2 Injured in Bacolod Shootings.

I never tire of telling all how much I love life here in Bacolod. Like the vast majority of locals, I hope and pray that the authorities find a solution to these issues and the silent majority can continue to enjoy a peaceful co-existence.

Do I feel safe here? Yes.

Should you come visit this wonderful country? Yes!


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Published inBacolod LifeRetiring To The Philippines


  1. Tony Bushell Tony Bushell

    Yes Steve – for the most part we are shielded from incidents like this, but occasionally those incidents end up on your doorstep and it is a shocking situation. Just as you say – the country is wildly contrasting with the vast majority of people being warm and friendly. There is however, elements that will kill another with no apparent concern for the consequences. Drugs are the overwhelming cause of crime and the slayings that take place here but the “war on drugs” will never be concluded to the required outcome. Duterte hasvto do something though and arguably, his actions are better than nothing.
    Your comments about living here and feeling safe are comments I fully concur with. Who knows what the future holds for the country and Bacolod in particular but right now I love living here and urge potential visitors not to be put off coming here because of unfair negative reporting abroad.

  2. Living in the relatively sheltered northern plains of North Dakota, I was surprised when starting to spend winters in the Phoenix AZ metro. Violent crime is much higher here. Of course, the population density is over 10 times higher. Given even the same percentage of crime per capita, it would appear much worse, even if it weren’t so. We feel just as safe here in our suburban neighborhood as we do in Fargo.

    • I understand that John. It’s all relative. The other point is the more violent crime hits the news, the more scared people become. Understandable, but not always rational.

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