Drug users, pushers surrender

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By Gideon C. Corgue (ALT/GCC/PIA9/Zamboanga del Sur)

PAGADIAN CITY, July 11 (PIA) – Some 300 self-confessed drug users and pushers from different barangays surrendered on Thursday to Mayor Romeo Pulmones and Supt. Michael P. Palermo, PNP chief at the New Executive Function Hall, City Hall Complex.

Palermo said the surrender of the suspected drug dependents was part of “Oplan Katok at Pakiusap” (Knock and Plead) campaign of the Philippine National Police that encourages addicts not only to stop using illegal drugs but to reform as well.

The surrenderees immediately took their oath before the two officials to stay away from using and selling illegal drugs and to undergo drug test.

Palermo was happy that the drug users and sellers cooperated with the police and voluntarily surrendered themselves.

Palermo asked the drug users why they surrendered to the police. According to them, they wanted to reform. But the police chief did not believe them because he observed that the reason for their surrender was that they were scared by reports of suspected drug peddlers who were killed in police operations.

“I know that you surrendered not because you want to reform but you are afraid of the relentless anti-drug campaign of President Duterte. If your aim is to reform, you should have surrendered earlier to the police,” Palermo noted.

Palermo said the police does not consider drug users/sellers as drug addicts but victims instead.

“We did not treat you as addicts. You are just victims thus, you deserve to be given assistance,” Palermo explained.

Meanwhile, Mayor Romeo Pulmones said the anti-illegal drug campaign was already started in 2012 when the government declared an all-out war against illegal drugs.

“But with the marching order of President Duterte directing all local chief executives and chiefs police to intensify its campaign, city officials actively supported the crusade,” Pulmones stated.

He warned the drug users/pushers to stop their illegal drug activities saying that those who continue to do it will land either in the mental hospital, jail or in the cemetery.

Pulmones observed that from among the surrenderees, there were no prominent persons, instead they all come from poor families.

The mayor was shocked when he found out one of the drug users was a 13 year-old boy.

He also noted eight women including one who is pregnant, and one carrying an infant in her arms surrendered to the police.

The chief executive is optimistic that more drug suspects will turn themselves in as they continue conducting Oplan Tokhang in various barangays of the city.