Dismiss all drug protectors among barangay officials
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 15, 2019 - 12:00am

Again, it is Mayor Isko Moreno of Manila who is leading the way in the LGUs’ crusade against drugs. After cleaning up Divisoria and Quiapo, after firing police officials in Liwasang Bonifacio for not enforcing the law, his next target is to rid the big BASECO compound of drugs.

He told the barangay officials that they should resign if the place is not freed from drug lords, drug pushers and drug users. This is a tall order, but at least, one leader stands out to enforce the law. If Isko can do it, why not all the other mayors in Metro Manila, and nationwide, especially in Cebu and the surrounding cities and municipalities?

I understand that Mayor Francis Zamora of San Juan, Vico Sotto of Pasig and Joy Belmonte of Quezon City are following suit. What I wish to hear is all the mayors of Cebu City, Talisay, Mandaue, Lapu-Laupu and even the municipalities of Minglanilla, Consolacion and Compostela to make a firm and explicit statement ordering their component barangay captains to rid their areas.

This is, of course, very much easier said than executed. It is very convenient for us opinion writers to write about this. The one who shall implement all these are the ones whose necks are on the chopping blocks. But all I need to hear is a categorical and strong statement and declaration against drugs. And let the burdens be on the barangay leaders to obey or to defy.

I heard a radio and TV commentator said one time, I dunno if it was one of the Tulfo brothers, or Rene Sta. Cruz or Ted Failon, who said that any mayor or barangay captain who does not make an explicit declaration of war against drugs are either in cahoots with the drug lords or are plain stupid and uncaring.

In Cebu City alone, there are unverified reports of many pockets of urban settlements where the drug syndicates are operating like Mafia. Well, the mayor should verify this and come up with a statement. But meanwhile, we can never deny that the words of the mayor in any city define the stand of the local government in relation to drugs.

After the SONA, the President summoned all the mayors to Manila, and they were told unequivocally and unqualifiedly that, among others, they have to be serious in the government's war against drugs. They should, in turn, meet their barangay chairmen and together they should put impetus to the campaign to eliminate the sources ad channels of the drug trades.

The President told them that if they cannot do it, they should tender their irrevocable resignation. They have many other responsibilities, like cleanliness and sanitation, addressing the traffic and the garbage problems. But what matters most to the President is the drug menace.

I agree with the president that all barangay officials who remain silent and do not take positive action against drugs are in the payroll of the drug lords. I agree that they should resign immediately. They cannot have their cake and eat it too. I even venture to add, if the mayors cannot discipline the barangay heads, then they might also want to leave their posts and let others do it. But then again, I do concur, that such a braggadocio is easier said than done.

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