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Dumaguete City, Philippines Tuesday, July 5, 2016
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302 ‘drug users, pushers'
surrender in Guihulngan

The Philippine National Police in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental has reported a record high 302 surrenderees as of 1:30 p.m. yesterday, in connection with the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the government.

Guihulngan City police chief, Supt D'Artagnan Katalbas Jr., said the first batch was only 12 before the May 9 elections, but to date the list has gone up to more than 300 individuals.

What is good about the voluntary surrender of drug dependents is the very important information they shared to the police at their own free will, about names and possible players in the drug menace, that will be vital in running after the big players.

However, Katalbas made it clear the information they gave are subject to validation and processing of the information to make sure their rights are also protected.

In fact, one of them, a regular employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Guihulngan City, approached Katalbas in vehemently denying she is into illegal drugs.

It was learned during a counseling conducted by a member of the PNP in Guihulngan city that some of those listed have stopped using illegal drugs many years back but still included in the list.

These are among the concerns being addressed by the police while verifying and validating the truthfulness of the reports with facts.

Katalbas said while undergoing the process, PNP Guihulngan is waiting for instructions from the provincial command, under the leadership of Senior Supt. Harris Fama, with information a regional anti-drug summit will follow after the first provincial anti drug summit in the province.

Katalbas said it was not sure yet what are the plans of the surrenderees aside from giving them counseling on the ill-effects of illegal drugs to their respective families, to the community and to themselves.

On the other hand, anti-illegal drugs operation will continue even with the surrender of more than 300 individuals who claim to be drug dependents in the city.

In yesterday's flag-raising ceremony, Mayor Carlo Jorge Joan Reyes issued a stern warning against regular and job order employees who are into illegal drugs.

At the count of 10, many approached the mayor and some even talked in front of all the employees.

Reyes said he is fully supporting the efforts of the new administration under President Rodrigo Duterte to rid the streets of drug pushers and users, that is why even before the elections in May, he has already cause the surrender of 12 drug users.

As to possibilities of employing them or giving them work, Reyes said it will depend on the budgetary requirements, because it's not a joke to employ all of them.*JG


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