Muslims leaving Dagupan City to erase drug-link tag

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MARKED One of the houses abandoned by Muslims in Barangay Bonuan Gueset in Dagupan City was spray-painted with the words “drug den” PHOTO BY JAIME G. AQUINO

MARKED One of the houses abandoned by Muslims in Barangay Bonuan Gueset in Dagupan City was spray-painted with the words “drug den” PHOTO BY JAIME G. AQUINO

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan: After Urdaneta City, Muslims in Barangay Bonuan Gueset here and whose houses were tagged by the police as “illegal drug lairs,” have volunteered to abandon their homes to erase suspicion that they are involved in illegal activities.

Superintendent Neil Miro, city police chief, confirmed to The Manila Times that the eviction of Muslims living the area near the Tondaligan Blue Beach is part of their campaign against illegal drugs.

Village officials of Bonuan Gueset admitted that majority of more than 500 listed pushers and users submitted to the Philippine National Police are Muslims residing in a compound in Dagupan City.

The voluntary departure resulted from a meeting between Assistant Secretary Hamin Ladjakhal of the Department of Interior and Local Government and City Administrator Farah Decano last week.


Allan Maasir, who represented the Muslims living in the compound, said the city government assured them of financial assistance for their fare back to Mindanao.

Police and barangay (village) officials also confirmed that about 32 houses and their occupants were involved in illicit drug activities.

Occupants of some 20 houses in the area left last week after receiving fare and other forms of financial assistance.

Several families who were not identified on the police watchlist also volunteered to avail of the monetary help.

Before the negotiations last week, three houses at the Muslim compound were burned down by unknown suspects, which Miro ordered investigated.

The provincial police office earlier said majority of the Muslims residing in Tondaligan Beach are allegedly involved in drug trafficking.

It added that of the total number of pushers arrested and killed in legitimate police operations in the province, 72 percent of them were residents of Dagupan City since 1995.

Earlier this month, Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez 4th ordered the eviction of all Muslims from at least 10 drug-affected villages, particularly Barangay Camantiles.

About 2,000 residents volunteered to demolish their houses even without any assistance from the city government.

Police uncovered a tunnel reportedly used as a drug den and for other criminal activities in an abandoned house.

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