Cebu News

16-year-old youngest surrenderee: Grandma yields, vows to quit drug business

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A 62-year-old former fish vendor who had been operating a drug den in Barangay Sawang Calero for almost 20 years was among the latest to surrender to the police.

Gloria Veloso was accompanied by her husband, Wilfredo, and their grandchildren to the Sawang Calero Police Station.

She was among the 72 suspected drug personalities who surrendered to the police station since the Oplan Tukhang (operation tuktok hangyo) started over the weekend.

Veloso said her income from the use of their house as venue for sniffing drugs sustained their daily needs since she stopped selling fish because of physical disability. Veloso said she is now half-blind because of diabetes.

 "Nasakit man gud ko og diabetes day, unya gigamit nalang namo among balay isip suyopanan sa mga tawo nga gusto mogamit og drugs," she told The Freeman.

According to her, she collects P20 as rental for every person who uses her house.

"Makapalit gayud siya ug pangunsomo kay naa baya ko mga apo nga pakan-on," she said.

She promised to the police to stop her illegal operation and would instead ask their barangay captain to help her get a livelihood.

 "Modangop nalang ko sa amo kapitan, magpakitabang ko nga maka baton ug panginabuhian day kay dili naman maka klaro ako mata, unya mokaon baya me taga-adlaw," Veloso said.

She is hoping that the government can help her get a job to earn.

"Maayo unta naay panginabuhian ang katawhan day, ilabi na ang kabus aron dili na sila mosulod sa dautan nga bisyo para adunay ipakaon sa nagkutoy nga tiyan sa ilang pamilya," she added.

Police Officer 1 Arnel Villahermosa of Sawang Calero Police Station said there were 36 people from Barangay Suba who surrendered, two from Pasil,14 from Sawang Calero, four from Pahina San Nicolas, one from San Nicolas Proper, and 15 from Barangay Calamba.

Villahermosa is expecting more people will surrender in the coming days.

The youngest to surrender was a 16-year-old fourth year night high school student. He said he was forced to sell drugs to support his studies and his younger brother.

He admitted that his fear of President Rodrigo Duterte prompted him to surrender. He said he started selling drugs last year and earns P1,000 to P2,000 a week.

The boy signed an undertaking with the police and promised that he will no longer sell drugs. He said he will continue his studies using his savings.

Mandaue city

Meanwhile, Mayor Gabriel Luigi Quisumbing is planning to provide an affordable or even free drug rehabilitation center in Mandaue City.

Quisumbing said his administration will be talking to some partners to come up with free or low-cost drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in anticipation of a huge number of drug dependents surrendering to the police.

There are only two government drug rehabilitation centers in Cebu. One is located in Argao for male residents while the other, for female, is at Eversley Compound in Mandaue City.

Private rehabilitation centers charge P9,000 to P13,000 per patient every month.

At least 131 drug users and sellers surrendered yesterday in Mandaue City.

 Senior Superintendent Jonathan Cabal, deputy city director for operations, presented the suspected drug users and pushers to Quisumbing.

In Naga City, six more drug users and four pushers surrendered to Mayor Kristine Chiong. In Asturias town, five suspected drug pushers also surrendered to Mayor Antonio Pintor. — with Mylen P. Manto, Garry B. Lao and Iris Mariani B. Algabre/FPL  (FREEMAN)


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