PDEA seeks ban on ‘Amatz’

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino (PDEA Cares image)

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) General Aaron Aquino seeks to ban rapper Shanti Dope’s hit song ‘Amatz’.

Citing its chorus, “Lakas ng amats ko. Sobrang natural. Walang halong kemikal… Dati kataka-taka pa kung. Sa anong dahilan ka nila binabalik-balikan. Para saan ka pa ba nila pinagsusunugan ng salapi sa kada silid-gamitan. Makinang na bato. Mapadamuhang mabango,” Aquino said that the song should be ceased from airing since it encourages use of marijuana.

“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,” Aquino said in a statement.

He also asked the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) and ABS-CBN Corp. to stop promoting ‘Amatz’ for its lyrics.

“We respect and appreciate our artists in the music industry,” he said.

“However, we strongly oppose the promotion of musical pieces or songs that encourage the recreational use of drugs like marijuana and ‘shaku’ (crystal meth). It is contrary to our fight against illegal drugs, ” he added.

Likewise, the PDEA recommended that “songs of similar forms should be banned from being aired.”

Meanwhile, Shanti Dope cried foul over the ban, urging Aquino to “listen to the whole song, and not just take a few lines out of context.”

In a Facebook post, the teenage rapper denied that his song promotes illegal drugs but stated that it stands firm against it.

He clarified that the “persona” is “flying” because of music and not narcotics.

“None of it promotes marijuana use. In fact it clearly shows the persona taking a stand against illegal drugs, while at the same time pointing out that what has made him “fly” (so to speak) is not drugs, but music,” Shanti Dope said.

“We also take offense at the manner in which this questionable interpretation of the song “Amatz” has been used to malign Shanti himself,” he added.

Shanti Dope also stressed that the ban is a “brazen use of power, and an affront to our right to think, write, create, and talk freely about the state of the nation.”