Nearly 2,000 drug suspects surrender in Ilocos Sur

Bryan Realgo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2016 04:12 PM

ILOCOS SUR – Over 1,800 drug suspects from different municipalities and cities have surrendered to Governor Ryan Luis Singson at the capitol quadrangle on Thursday.

The drug suspects took their pledge of commitment, vowing to put an end to sale of narcotics in the province.

"It was a mixed emotion, Masaya tayo na 1,800 ang nag-surrender pero iniisip ko ganito na pala karami ang drug dependents dito. Ibig sabihin lang nito may kapabayaan sa kampanya kontra iligal na droga nitong nakaraan kaya ngayon kailangan na mas paigtingin na ang kampanya natin," Singson said.

Chief Inspector Greg Guerrero of the Police Community Relations explained that most of those who surrendered are drug users.

"Kaunti lang naman ang nasa drug watchlist dito sa Ilocos Sur, may mga sumuko na din na listed drug personalities pero yung iba kinakausap pa natin para sumuko na din, karamihan sa mga sumusuko ay mga drug users ang ilan matagal na din na huminto sa paggamit kaya lang natatakot na baka madamay kaya nais nilang linisin ang kanilang pangalan," he said.

Guerrero earlier said 1,200 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel in the province tested negative for drug use during a random test conducted last week.

Ilocos Sur cops clear drug test

Officials said the drug suspects will be given training and livelihood assistance and rehabilitation plans with the help of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Philippine National Police and other government agencies.

The drug suspects will also undergo spiritual counseling.

The governor challenged the leadership of PNP in the province to intensify its campaign against illegal drugs.

"Kailangan na ma-penetrate natin kung saan nanggagaling ang illegal na droga na pumapasok dito. Yan naman ang hinihiling natin sa mga sumuko na makipagtulungan para matunton ng ating mga pulis kung sino ang mga nagpapasok, kung saan nanggagaling at papaano naipapasok," the governor said.

Meanwhile, Singson also admitted that a number of marijuana plantations have been discovered in some upland municipalities in the province particularly in the tri-boundaries of Ilocos Sur, La Union and Benguet.

He asked residents to stop planting marijuana and invited cultivators to have a dialogue to discuss possible alternative livelihood assistance.

"Pag nakita natin na hindi effective ang pagbibigay ng livelihood assistance, baka pwede natin na pag-aralan na lagyan ng gamot ang lupa para hindi na tumubo o mabuhay ang marijuana sa bahagi na iyon ng lalawigan," he said.

On Wednesday, during a meeting with over 1,200 provincial employees, Governor Singson announced that all employees will undergo drug testing. Those who will be found positive will be automatically removed from office.

Governor Singson and some elected officials led the drug test.