KORONADAL CITY - More than 230 suspected drug pushers and users have surrendered at various police stations in South Cotabato.
The much-publicized threat of summary executions has brought alarm and fear among drug suspects in the province.
Senior Superintendent Franklin Alvero, provincial police director of South Cotabato, said they have a program called "Bagong Buhay, Bagong Pangarap" for drug suspects.
Those who voluntarily surrendered were not sent to jail. Instead, they signed an affidavit of undertaking wherein they committed themselves to change and to refrain from engaging in illegal drug activities.
The program started in Surallah town in South Cotabato.
Chief Inspector Joel Fuerte, chief of police of Surallah, said the program started in April this year. From a single town, the entire South Cotabato provincial police now practice the program.
"Nagsimula sa isang tao lang na pumunta siya dito sa aming istasyon at sumuko. So, mula sa kanya, naisip namin na bakit hindi natin gawing programa ito na bibigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon na magbagong buhay at talagang dahil sa takot na mapatay sila o makulong at mawalay sa pamilya, lumapit sila sa police at sumuko," said Fuerte.
Alvero said the names of those who surrendered and entered the program will be deleted from police watch lists if they will be found to be serious in their commitment.
He said if they fail to stop their illegal activities, their names will be submitted to the national headquarters of the PNP and will be the target of anti-illegal drug operations of the Duterte administration.
Duterte earlier vowed to crack down on illegal drug activities in three to six months.