Pampanga officials express alarm on increase in drug surrenderers

Governor Lilia “Nanay” Pineda expressed alarm over the increase in number of drug surrenderers despite the thorough anti-drug operations by the Pampanga Provincial Police Office (PPO) and the provincial government.

This was gleaned during the peace and order council meeting at Kingsborough International Convention Center wherein the PPO presented a total of 22,281 drug surrenderers as of January 22. Of these, 21,656 are drug users and 625 are identified as drug pushers.

It can be recalled that in the 3rd quarter of last year, PPO has recorded more than 11,000 drug surrenderers including users and pushers.

The governor said that the increase in drug suspect count negates all of the efforts made by the provincial government especially after launching the “Dalan Ning Pamagbayu” which is focused on the reformation and rehabilitation of Kapampangans who fell for the ills of illegal drugs.

“If we searched all of the corners of Pampanga, all of the barangays, and declared them to be free of drug dens, shabu laboratories, or drugs per se, then why is it that there is an increase in number? The chiefs-of-police (COPs) are there, the mayors are there… This is alarming,” the governor said.

She also told Police Provincial director Sr. Supt. Joel Consulta, the COPs and the mayors that the lack of funds in anti-illegal drug campaign operations is not an excuse to slack off.

“Make a budget proposal of your operations against drugs so that we will see what we can do, what we can augment. You cannot say to me you don’t have funds,” she added.

Parental involvement on rehabilitation process

She also suggested that the parents and relatives of the drug surrenderers should also be involved in the process, especially the families of the suspects who are unemployed.

“Let’s also oblige the parents and relatives. We give the suspects the needed facilities to change, then they should also help in feeding their kin. President [Rodrigo] Duterte is right. If we will pour out all of the budget, billions of pesos, solely on anti-drugs campaign, we will be shorthanded,” she said.

She also asked Consulta to give her the complete list of drug surrenderers to be presented to the barangay officials in their next meeting.

“Ipamumukha natin sa kanila ang listahan (We will present the list in their faces),” she added.

On Drug Test Kits

Vice Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda addressed Consulta and the mayors that there are drug test kits readily available 24/7. He said that the drug test kits procured by the provincial government for the arrested suspects can be used for initial confirmation. He added that the chiefs-of-police, together with the municipal health officers are in charge of them.

“We have about 40,000 drug test kits available but only 6,000 of them have been used. We have around 22,000 surrenderers as of now, so this means you are not using these kits. These kits are for free, so why are you not using them? PD [Consulta], I think you have to consume them because our monitoring would be worthless if we will not make them undergo drug testing,” he said. –PHILIP OCAMPO/Pampanga PIO