During meeting with Osmeña: Illegal drug pushers, users promise to quit
(The Freeman) - June 23, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña gathered around 50 suspected drug pushers and users at the Mabolo Barangay Hall yesterday to convince them to quit the business.

"I had a dialogue with pushers and drug dependents. And I think they appreciate that we are trying and I appreciate that they are trying also," he told The Freeman.

Those present were made to sign a pledge:

"Ako si ___ (name) _____, usa ka drug user/pusher nagasaad nga moundang/mohunong na sa paggamit/pagbaligya og ginadiling drugas. Ako nagasaad nga magbag-o na sa akong kinabuhi ug musubay na sa saktong dalan," the document reads.

Mabolo Barangay Captain Reynaldo Ompoc; Mabolo Police Station Intelligence chief PO2 Pacheco Pulgo; Cebu City Police Office deputy chief, Police Senior Insp. Luzviminda Lambid; and CCPO Chief Inspector David Señor signed as witnesses.

Osmeña said the meeting was a social experiment aimed at addressing the problem of illegal drugs in Cebu City.

"I never tried this before, but, we're trying.  So, I'll just try to start moving to the right direction. Right now, it's going to be a process. It's not, okay tomorrow, we have no more drugs anymore," he said.

Osmeña said personnel from the barangay and the Mabolo Police Station identified the drug personalities. He said the problem of illegal drugs requires both police and social action to solve.

The newly elected mayor made the headlines when he announced he would give P50,000 for every slain drug personality. He defended the reward by saying it is meant to assist policemen in defending themselves in times of trouble or consequences during their operations.

In a report by ABS-CBN's TV Patrol Central Visayas yesterday, Ompoc thanked Osmeña for the initiative, saying the project can help abate the worsening problem of illegal drug trade here.

Osmeña said he is willing to help those who are willing to change through livelihood programs.  "They are willing to get a normal life. I'm willing to help them," he said.

"First, we will send them a social worker to look into their situation. If there's any problem in their family, we will address that right away. I don't say that they are going to change just like that, but hopefully, we will learn something out of this process," he said.

He said he decided to start in Barangay Mabolo because it is easier to work with a barangay headed by a member of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

Surrender

Also yesterday, Alvaro Alvaro alias "Barok", a top drug personality in Central Visayas, surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Earlier reports said Alvaro, accompanied by his mother and wife, first surrendered at the NBI's field office in Bohol on Tuesday, then was sent to the NBI's Central Visayas office afternoon on the same day, before being flown to the NBI headquarters in Manila.

"He surrendered through an intermediary," Atty. Rennan Augustus Oliva, head of the NBI-Bohol provincial office, told reporters yesterday.

Alvaro is facing strings of cases, including several cases of illegal possession of drugs (which some are already heard in court) and a violation of the anti-child abuse law in a court in Bulacan, while a case of murder against him has been "settled," Oliva said.

On Friday night, Alvaro allegedly escaped during the shootout between cops and Jeffrey Otom Diaz, 40, alias 'Jaguar,' and his cohort, Paul Vincent Gloria, 26.

Police shot Diaz and Gloria dead during the encounter inside Pilar Village in Las Piñas City at 10:40 PM on Friday.

Alvaro was said to be Diaz' "top lieutenant" who operated in Metro Manila, Cebu and Bohol, Oliva said.

"He was supposed to reveal 'Jaguar''s drug activity in Manila, aside from his other operations in Cebu, particularly in Danao City and Camotes Island where he is based," he added.

Asked why he surrendered, Alvaro said he fears of being killed.   Police Regional Office-7 director, Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, said he hopes that politicians will not use Alvaro's surrender for personal gain.

"We welcome any revelation for that matter hoping this will not be used for political matter. We will jointly conduct tactical interrogation. Political season daghan kaayo mosakay, trying to used political means to use political ends… clash between politicians," he said.

Price rise

After Diazs' death, police in Cebu observed that the price of shabu has skyrocketed reportedly due to lack of supply.

Comendador said the supply of drugs crumbled after Diaz's death but this effect may just be temporary.

Comendador said the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group-7 confirmed the price increase.

"Shabu ni-double na ang monitoring sa Cebu City. Cebu City pa lang na mag-anam ka kalayo sa source mag-anam na kamahal," Comendador said.

The situation is in contrast to reports last week that the price of shabu in the province went down.

"This actually is a good development… we have restricted the supply shabu in the region," Comendador said.

Reminder

With the arrests and killings of drug personalities becoming more and more rampant, the Visayas Ombudsman reminded law enforcers to make sure they do not violate the rules of engagement.

 The office's spokesperson, Maria Corazon Naraja, said they currently monitoring reports of operations against drug personalities.

Probe

Still in line with the drug problem, the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Mandaue City Police is investigating a report that a sachet of shabu was seized from a 10-year-old female student of a public school in the city.

Police Chief Insp. Mercy Villaro, head of WCPD, said they are conducting a background investigation into the girl's family. It was reportedly the school that reported the incident to the police. The item seized is still with the school's custody.

"Ang bata, wala siya kita pero ang iyang classmate maoy nakakita ug miingon nga shabu kuno," Villaro said.

The student and her family are survivors of the fire in Barangay Guizo and are living temporarily at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) grounds.  Villaro was alarmed that the child's classmate was able to identify the supposed substance.

She is scheduled to meet with the student today.  — Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, Bryner L. Diaz, Garry B. Lao, Dale G. Israel with Philippine Star News Service/JMO

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