SURALLAH, South Cotabato – Drug traffickers, pushers and users in this town only have until Wednesday (June 15) to show up at the municipal police station and vow to reform and undergo rehabilitation. Otherwise, the local police said the suspects would be priority targets in forthcoming operations.
The local police have released to barangay (village) chairpersons the names of suspected illegal drug peddlers, users and pushers residing in Surallah’s 17 barangays.
“Most of those in the list have voluntarily appeared before our office and declared they will reform,” Chief Inspector Joel Fuerte, the town police chief, said, adding that the police have given those engaged in the illegal drug trade to come on their own and clear their names.
“You are given until June 15 to show up, by then if you still do not come out, you will be our priority targets,” Fuerte had said days ago.
He assured the rights of the suspects would be respected “unless they resist violently.”
The warning from the police prompted more suspected illegal drug pushers, users and peddlers to come forward and vow to reform and undergo rehabilitation before law enforcers.
Short of declaring early victory in the government campaign against illegal drugs, Fuerte said the total number of individuals who have voluntarily registered their intention to reform rose to 45.
“All those who showed up were males,” Fuerte said, adding that the campaign has become popular among persons engaged in illegal drugs ever since President-elect Rodrigo Duterte vowed to crush drug syndicates, traffickers and pushers upon his assumption to power on June 30, 2016. Duterte said he would instruct policemen nationwide — as he had done so in Davao City where he was mayor for 22 years — to shoot those who would resist arrest.
“We will help them reform, this is for their own good and not ‘pogi’ points for the police,” Fuerte said of those who turned themselves in.
“Even those not in the list came over and asked if their names were included, if so then they will commit not to engage in illegal drugs anymore,” he said.
One of the suspects, who asked not to be named for his personal security, told police he showed up because his mother told him she wanted him alive, on June 30, the assumption to power of the Duterte administration.
Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly announced a reward for anyone who can kill an illegal drug lord, sending a chilling message to those involved in illegal acts.
“I fear for my life, there’s still time to reform,” another suspect said in the vernacular.
Impressed by the success of the Surallah PNP, Senior Supt. Franklin Alvero, the South Cotabato police provincial director, said the Surallah model will be applied across the province.
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