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Cebu News

Village chiefs sign manifesto backing PNP’s anti-drug fight

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City's Association of Barangay Councils yesterday signed a covenant with the Philippine National Police to support the campaign against illegal drugs.

At least 40 of the city's 80 barangay captains were present during the signing of the manifesto, which contained a pledge that the officials would maintain their integrity and dedication to public service.

"I will not allow myself to be corrupted by illegal drugs and that I will lead my people in my barangay in reducing the demand for illegal drugs through proper awareness and in neutralizing drug offenders with the support of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and other law enforcement agencies of the government," read a part of the document that the barangay officials recited together.

In a prepared speech delivered during the occasion, Chief Superintendent Sheldon Jacaban, Police Regional Ofifce-7 deputy regional director for administration, recognized the vital role of the barangays in the fight against illegal drugs.

He said 1,187 of 2,446 barangays in Central Visayas are affected by the drug problem. The number included all 80 barangays of Cebu City, 27 in Mandaue City, and also 27 in Lapu-Lapu City.

"The country's problem on illegal drugs still remains to be one of the most serious concerns that affect us today as a nation, a problem that after years of complacency has morphed into what it is today, a parasite that has devoured the mind and body of our countrymen and has also caused the unfortunate deterioration of our society and its moral fibers," Jacaban said.

He said there is a need to intensify the fight to protect the youth from being the "major targets" of illegal drug traffickers due to their lack of discernment to the ill effects of illegal drugs.

Yesterday's covenant signing was led by ABC President Philip Zafra and PRO-7 Director Noli Taliño.

The activity came weeks after Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña withdrew his support to the police's effort against illegal drugs.

In particular, he stopped providing cash rewards for every drug personality killed by the police, upset over the major revamp which caused the relief of Cebu City Police Office Director Benjamin Santos, whom he said was one of the best city directors he had worked with.

In a separate interview, Senior Superintendent Joel Doria, the new CCPO director, said he was overwhelmed by the barangay captains' show of support, while Taliño said he was happy that the barangay officials are supporting Doria.

"Tatangapin natin kahit anong tulong to clear the drug menace in our community," he said.

In another development, Taliño said 10 policemen in the region have tested positive of illegal drugs use in recent surprise drug tests and are now facing administrative charges.

Sixty percent of the regional police force already underwent surprise drug screenings after Director Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa assumed as the new PNP chief.

 "(The) ten are now charged administratively," Taliño said, adding that the 10 policemen can still contest the result conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory.

He said that if they would be found positive during the confirmatory test and found guilty during the summary hearing proceedings, the 10 policemen can be dismissed from the service.  (FREEMAN)

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