TACLOBAN CITY, June 4 (PNA) — Local government officials in Eastern Visayas have thrown their support to the anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Some local officials submitted the names of alleged illegal drug traders to law enforcement agencies, but refused to divulge names for security reasons.
In Southern Leyte, Governor Roger Mercado recalled that during his term as mayor of Maasin City, he had many enemies after he issued an order to crack down illegal drug trade.
“I feel vindicated now that the national government is making this as one of their priority,” said Mercado, who considers Duterte as their town mate since the President’s mother is from Maasin City.
Mercado said that they have list of names of suspected illegal drug traders, but the lack of support by previous administrations made it hard for them to end the drug menace.
The governor asked the provincial police director to arrest all drug traders, including those who are involved in illegal activities like gambling, fishing and poaching.
Maasin City Mayor Nacional Mercado said that the local government unit is now planning to provide incentives to individuals who can provide information of suspected illegal drug pusher and users in the city.
Illegal drug trade is rampant in Maasin City, according to Mercado with most of the illegal drugs supplies came from Cebu, Bohol and Mindanao.
Arrest against illegal drug traders has been going on in the city. About 90 percent detainees in city and provincial jails are involved in illegal drugs.
The city government will also form an auxiliary group that will be assigned in villages to help policemen in deterring crimes and illegal activities.
“We also regularly conduct drug test to all government employees to know if who among government workers are using illegal drug,” the mayor shared.
In last year’s surprise drug test conducted for employees of Department of Public Works and Highways, 32 workers were found positive of illegal drugs use.
About 85 government employees in Southern Leyte were arrested for drug related-offenses from January to December of 2014.
Calbayog City is also all-out in its campaign against proliferation of illegal drugs in the city, said Mayor Ronald Aquino.
Aquino said that before election period, they intensified their operation against illegal drugs where more than 40 individuals were arrested.
“Our jail can only accommodate 15 people, but we arrested more than that. So we had an agreement with the city jail personnel if we can detain arrested illegal drug traders in other buildings. We assured them that we will provide food for the inmates,” said Aquino.
San Miguel, Leyte Mayor Cherryl Enrica Esperas is confident that illegal drugs trade in her town will be addressed under new administration.
“As a mayor, I am happy that the President is supporting us in this campaign. In our own small way, we support the law enforcement agencies to arrest those involved in illegal drugs,” Esperas added.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency, suspected illegal drug traders in the region have been reportedly turning themselves into the folds of law.
In Northern Samar province, during the first three days of Duterte administration, 77 suspected drug personalities voluntarily surrendered.
They executed affidavit stating that they will support and cooperate with the police to make their respective villages as “drug free” and they will no longer involved in illegal drugs.
Of the 77 persons who yielded to authorities, 33 are from Catarman town, 28 from Laoang, and 16 from Lapinig.
In Catbalogan City the capital of Samar province, 41 identified drug personalities also surrendered on July 1 after the city police and village official knock on doors of known drug pushers and users.
Those who surrendered also signed an affidavit that they will never engage in illegal drugs activities. They will be monitored closely by the police.
In Borongan City, the capital of Eastern Samar, 12 suspected illegal drug personalities from different villages voluntarily surrendered on July 1.
In Naval, Biliran, a total of 22 alleged drug personalities surfaced at the office of Mayor Gerard Espina on July 1, giving up their involvement to illegal drugs. (PNA)
PGL/SQM/ROEL T. AMAZONA/EGR