THEY keep coming out.
Apparently driven by fear of execution, more than 900 drug pushers and users have surrendered to the police over the weekend as police and barangay (village) officials joined hands in carrying out a tough anti-drug program initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Rizal Provincial Police Director Senior Supt. Adriano Enong Jr. said 762 drug “suspects” from various barangays in the province trooped to the headquarters of the Rizal Provincial Police in Taytay town where they underwent medical and psychiatric examinations and drug tests.
In Isabela province, at least 200 people involved in illegal drugs also surrendered to authorities in the towns of Ilagan and San Agustin. The youngest was 15 years old, police said.
Senior Inspector William Agpalsa, San Agustin chief of police, said they will continue their operations against the drug personalities who have not surrendered.
Those who turned up in police stations signed an affidavit that they will not use or peddle illegal drugs again. They will be given counseling, livelihood training and undergo rehabilitation, if needed.
“The PNP anti-drug campaign operations have no timeline and it will never stop until said menace is totally eradicated in the province of Rizal,” Enong said.
The Rizal surrenderers were the latest batch of drug personalities who turned themselves in since Duterte vowed to go after drug pushers and their police protectors.
On Friday, 86 suspected drug users and pushers in San Juan City surrendered to the police.
With the help of barangay [village]officials, the suspected drug users and pushers
surrendered to San Juan acting police chief Senior Supt. Victor Arevalo.
The suspected drug users and pushers were later presented to Mayor Guia Gomez. The mayor vowed to give them livelihood training.
Last week, 210 suspected drug users and pushers also surrendered to the police in the cities of Pasig, Marikina, San Juan, and Mandaluyong
In Caraga, 272 suspected pushers and users also surrendered to authorities amid the intensified campaign against illegal drugs. Caraga police spokesman Supt. Michael Lozada said the drug suspects turned up in different police stations in the region.
Meanwhile, police officials said more than 6,000 drug personalities have surfaced in Region 12 since May this year.
Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., public information officer of Police Regional Office (PRO) 12, said a number of self-confessed drug pushers and users have been coming out daily.
“This is a positive development in our fight against illegal drugs,” Galgo said.
Region 12 is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Stop drugs or get ax
Also on Saturday, Senior Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, acting District Director of the Eastern Police District (EPD), warned the four chiefs of police in Metro Manila’s eastern area to stop illegal drugs.
Sapitula said the police chiefs will be given a grace period of one month to solve the problem in their areas.
“I give the chiefs of police to show their accomplishment in one month. After one month that they do not perform well, we have to relieve them. They should perform well because I have to give myself three months,” he told this reporter after he briefed his men during his first command conference at the EPD headquarters in Pasig City.
Apart from making EPD as the most peaceful district in the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), Sapitula said he wants to clean their own ranks to regain the trust of the people.
“We have to cleanse not only the community, but also on our own the ranks [of the police force]. This could be a simultaneous cleansing. We need to restore the credibility of the police. I want to bring back the trust of the people of EPD area,” he said.
Sapitula said he wants also to bring the police closer to the people.
“I want to bring the policemen to the community. People should feel police’s presence. I have to go around and I want to inspect the police officer. I want to see them in the respected area of their assignments,” he noted.
He said he is set to visit all the barangay [village]chairmen in the coming days to ask their support in the fight against illegal drugs, noting that all barangays in Metro Manila have been plagued by the drug menace.
Sapitula expressed confidence that the problem on illegal drugs can be solved.
“I am confident because President [Rodrigo] Duterte is the only president who’s been very bold in dealing with drugs. He’s very passionate,” Sapitula said.
“This is now the golden opportunity for us, including the community and all the people who area against illegal drugs . . . let us join hands,” he said.
Dela Rosa late Friday ordered senior PNP officials to undergo drug test.
The newly installed police chief said the test was to ensure that all senior officials holding key positions are capable of being role models to their subordinates.
The surprise drug test was in line with Duterte’s vow to rid the police force of rogue cops and bad eggs, Dela Rosa said as he warned that officials who will test positive for illegal drug used will be dismissed from the service.
“Automatic, matatanggal sa serbisyo,” the PNP chief told reporters.
Under the law, government employees found positive for use of dangerous drugs will undergo disciplinary and administrative proceedings.
With Leander Domingo and Anthony Vargas