PDEA Wants to Ban “Amatz” and Similar Songs for ‘Promoting Use of Marijuana’

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has made a stance against songs which are in conflict with President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. They have asked the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to ban Shanti Dope’s song “Amatz” from being aired. Their complaint mainly has to do with the song’s supposed encourage of recreational marijuana use.


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PDEA’s director, General Aaron Aquino, shared that a formal request had already been sent to the MTRCB last May 20. He justifies:

It appears that the singer was referring to the high effect of marijuana, being in its natural/organic state and not altered by any chemical compound. This runs contrary to Duterte’s administration crusade against illegal drugs.

It is believed that the PDEA Chief was referring to the lines: “Lakas ng amats ko, sobrang natural, walang halong kemikal.” This verse was accounted for, as well: “Ito hinangad ko; lipadin ay mataas pa sa kayang ipadama sayo ng gramo, di bale ng musika ikamatay.” They were interpreted to have ‘double meanings’.

However, the PDEA wants to make it clear that they do not intend to disrespect any artist. It is only that there ought to be a limit to creative freedoms when it comes to promoting illegal substances, as it runs contrary to the administration’s ‘crusade’. Aquino further explained:

We respect and appreciate our artists in the music industry, however, we strongly oppose the promotion of musical pieces or songs that encourage the recreational use of drugs like marijuana and shabu. It is contrary to our fight against illegal drugs.

They are also supposedly looking into the restriction of other songs which spread similar ‘subliminal messages’.

Do you think the PDEA should be spending their time banning music?