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Mayor: DILG drop boxes okay, but cautions public

CEBU, Philippines — Top government and police officials are in favor of the new program of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to put up drop boxes in every barangay where people could drop names of those allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

However, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was quick to caution the public to ensure their safety and security before putting names of people involved in illegal drugs.

“Let them try it.  All I am doing is trying to tell the people to be careful.  There are some barangay officials that are involved in drugs and they have CCTVs (closed-circuit television) all over.  So, they might identify who is putting these reports in the box,” Osmeña told reporters yesterday.

Osmeña said he is not yet convinced as to the effectiveness of this program, as compared to the shame campaign or putting up drug-free stickers in the community.

“But, hey, I am not stopping them. I am just giving warning, caution to the people – you (request) a stranger to put it in there.  Do not push yourself  because that drop box is monitored by the pushers in your neighborhood,” he said.

Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 Chief  Jose Mario Espino welcomes the DILG initiative in institutionalizing drop boxes nationwide to gather information on dangerous drugs, and other forms of lawlessness in the community.

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Espino added that the Tagbilaran City Police Office already launched its drop box last September 12, where the chief of police will open and review the notes dropped by stakeholders in the community.

“Actually this is one of the best practices initiated by the Tagbilaran city police station but this drop box is not only confined in the drug infiltration but also solicit suggestion on how to improve the police station. Every day, this drop box in Tagbilaran City is being opened by the Chief-Of-Police,” Espino said.

He added that information will undergo several validations before conducting any form of operations, to ensure that reports gathered are not merely for the personal gain of the one reporting.

DILG issued a memorandum circular last August 29, as part of its community-based program "Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga" or MASA MASID, to put up drop boxes to aid the country in its campaign against crimes.

"The MASA MASID Project promotes community involvement to contribute in addressing the problems on corruption, illegal drugs, criminality, violent extremism and other threats to peace and security down to its sources," DILG Memorandum Circular 2017-112 said.

In a separate interview, Councilor David Tumulak, chairman of the City Council committee on public order and safety, does not necessarily agree with the mayor about the safety of those who will drop in names in the box.

“Dili man kay sa sulod mana sa barangay, dili mana makita kay sa sulod man gyud na sa barangay hall,” he said.

Tumulak said putting up drug free stickers or this drop boxes system is just the same for it is considered as part of the strategy in dealing with illegal drugs.

“Parehas ra kay ang tumong to gather information man and to inform the public.  Mahulog ni nga public service box, pero ang question ang ubang interior parts sa barangay makaabot ba kaha? Dapat naay double information dissemination on the said program,” he told The FREEMAN.

Meanwhile, Councilor Sisinio Andales, who heads the council committee on laws, ordinances and styling, says the DILG program would cause more problems and it is not effective to solve the drug problem.

“It will not solve the fight of illegal drugs but will increase more confusion and problems because pranksters may drop in the boxes names of their enemies in order to get even for personal reasons. It will put to shame innocent families because one will not know the sources,” he told The FREEMAN.

He said the program needs further study before the implementation.

“One will not know the legitimacy and validity of the names submitted therein. It is more or less a shame campaign,” Andales further said.

Earlier, DILG-Cebu City Director Emma Joyevelyn Calvo said by third week of this month, they are scheduled to meet the 80 barangays of the city to discuss the program before its implementation.

This November, DILG is set to implement the program in the city. (FREEMAN)

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