What do you see?
Blue skies, puffy clouds, a bridge for pedestrians over a multi-lane roadway, right? These structures are projects put up by businesses, municipalities, politicians - a convenience for their customers and/or constituents to make it safer for them to cross and less congested for them to drive. Nothing new, I'm sure. Have a look at the median. Manicured plants behind a fence, right? Why would there be a need to have a fence on a traffic island that has, what, four lanes going in either direction? Yes, it could be to prevent damage to the plants, but there's yellow-painted concrete raising them above the level of the road, and a fence that flimsy wouldn't hold back a vehicle.
I say it's more likely because, aside from the people who handle the gardening, and despite the presence of the walkway above, there are still those who choose to cross at street level. (Your school uniforms pair so well with car exhaust - are those from high school or college?)
(These are the newer incarnations of the traditional jeepney, by the way.)
This isn't the only example of a gentler alternative proposed and then largely ignored. (Well, not completely - any roof in a rainstorm, and this can be an option when there aren't any others.) Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but if I have, it's worth mentioning again that there actually is a set of trash-sorting guidelines, and there's plenty of coverage on how well that's worked. Even queuing for kalawat, once an orderly one-pew-at-a-time affair, has reverted to the see-who-can-get-to-the-host-first-was-that-somebody's-foot-hip-toddler that I saw when I was much younger. (Bigger problems there than what people wear, but hey, whatever rocks your synod.)
Has this behavior changed since? Is it in a greater or lesser percentage of the population? That I've yet to find out for myself. But apply this mentality to the issue of drugs.
Softer methods have been and are being used, but not everybody has access to these resources - and I'd hazard a guess that people with access to more in an area that generally has less are people who tend to have an in with something more lucrative than a small shop or a food stand. And if those who have less are the cops and the drug treatment programs - the people willing to use the bridge as opposed to crossing at street level - it's a safe bet the only ones laughing are the pushers. (Sadly, there as well as here, there are cops who are involved in drugs.)
Go ahead and call it cruel (because it is), but as bad as I think the crackdown is, I also think the drugs are worse, and I think it's why this issue is being dealt with using all the finesse of a sledgehammer. I'd have to get dual citizenship to have more than a blog post's worth of say on this issue - but among the other, less complicated concerns of getting citizenship, I still find some difficulty supporting someone who'd deal with such a heavy problem, who nevertheless also poses the danger of dealing with other problems in heavy-handed ways. (Great shades of Hong Kong.)
On a side note, it's really tempting to support someone who's such a threat to organizations whose idea of respecting their customers' self-determination included practices that incorporated the work of those who keep casino gamblers in their seats, buried opt outs under page after link of legalese, and whose changes only came around after prolonged scrutiny. Very tempting, enormously tempting, to choose someone who proposes to deal with an issue that hits more than just me - but there are more issues than just the one, not the least of which are the sources of this news. (In the meantime, enjoy the suck.)