MAKING BOHOL THE first drug-free province in the country is a very tall order that both Gov. Edgar M. Chatto and PSSupt. Felipe R. Natividad have taken upon themselves to accomplish.Both formidable leaders spearheaded Friday’s Assessment and Presentation of Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Programs at the Bohol Cultural Center.
Bohol’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) facilitated the province-wide activity specifically programmed for Bohol’s 1,109 barangay captains, with its Head, Anthony R. Damalerio, at the helm.
BPPO NOT ALARMED
Earlier reports during last week’s Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting gave the data that the PNP’s Operation Tokhang in 17,298 households yielded a total of 30,287 voluntary surrenderors; where 29,108 are self-proclaimed drug users and 1,179 self-proclaimed drug pushers.
Last Friday, Supt. Ricky Delelis, Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) Spokesperson, belied earlier reports saying that Bohol’s status as having the most number of surrenderors in Central Visayas is a cause for great concern.
“This is not true for Bohol,” Delelis categorically said, “because this large number of surrenderors means only one thing: they want to change for the better and return to the folds of the law.”
Supt. Delelis then proceeded to explain to barangay captains what Operation Tokhang (Tuktok Hangyo) specifically means and how it works.
Drug users and pushers, Delelis said, are urged to surrender to the PNP where they are made to sign affidavits admitting their participation in the illegal drugs trade, also stating therein that they have committed themselves not to engage in such illegal activities anymore.
USE COMMUNITY PRESSURE
Col. Natividad admitted that “we can’t do this without you” (specifically referring to the barangay captains), consequently urging them to support the Provincial Government’s commitment to do battle against illegal drugs, and all forms of criminality at that.
He also said that he and Gov. Chatto have spoken with each other and have discussed and thought of several ways to stop illegal drugs, which would involve every sector of society in Bohol, and with the help of national government agencies, and perhaps, international agencies as well.
The Provincial Government is now seeking aid from the national government in financing a much-needed rehab center in the island municipality of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia (Pitogo).
The drug problem in the province is still thriving and there is a need for a more in-depth study to determine the flow of the illegal drugs trade as basis for the conduct of counter operations.
However, the campaign against illegal drugs has gained commendable results through successive and religious implementation of the anti-drug campaign of the BPPO, in relation to the PNP’s Project Double Barrel with the active participation of LGUs and other stakeholders.
Col. Natividad said that the people need not fear for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte himself gave the directive “not to harm the people;” and that it is the PNP’s mandate to serve and protect, not to hurt citizens.
“MY BARANGAY IS DRUG-FREE”
Returning to the podium, Gov. Chatto directed all barangay captains to convene their councils and puroks and inform everyone of the Provincial Government’s and the BPPO’s appeal to make Bohol a drug-free province.
“I want you to use the community or peer pressure approach to fight illegal drugs for Col. Natividad and I firmly believe that if we truly commit ourselves, we can do this together,” said the governor.
This method simply calls for every law-abiding citizen in every purok and in every barangay to make drug users and pushers feel that they are avoided and shunned by their neighbors and friends because of their illegal activities.
“Make them feel as if they are ‘outcasts,’” urged Gov. Chatto.
“And I want to hear from every barangay captain, all 1,109 of you, say, ‘My barangay is drug-free.’ Let us do all Boholanos proud and make Bohol the first drug-free province in the country!” Gov. Chatto said with conviction. (JLV/PGBh/EDCom)