Babag officials intensify anti-illegal drug campaign
Inspired by Barangay Pajo’s aggressive anti-illegal drug campaign, another village in Lapu-Lapu City has launched a similar campaign but minus the “shaming.”
Babag Barangay Captain Epifania Augusto led her councilors and village workers in going around the village to warn residents about the illegal drug menace.
But instead of spray-painting the doors of identified drug dens in the village similar to what Pajo Barangay Captain Junard “Ahong” Chan did, Augusto took to posting written warnings in public places such as waiting sheds, schools and covered courts.
“I really admire the antidrug campaign that Capt. Ahong Chan did in his barangay, but we also saw that it wasn’t something that the Commission on Human Rights approved of,” Augusto said in Cebuano.
Tarpaulins installed by Babag officials across the village bore signs like “In drugs, you won’t get old; instead it will kill you.” Other banners said “Let’s give hugs not drugs” and “Let’s make Barangay Babag a drug free barangay.”
Augusto said that while posting drug awareness signs may not be very effective in curbing the drug menace, it will at least show the seriousness of Barangay Babag’s antidrug campaign.
“We are not afraid of the drug personalities in our barangay, but we are also looking at their human rights,” she said.
Barangay Babag counts 131 drug surrenderers since January this year, and Augusto hopes to have more.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza commended Augusto’s drug awareness campaign initiative.
“I’m urging other barangays to come out and also do their intensified drug awareness campaign and work to make their barangays drug free,” said Radaza.
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Regional Director Arvin Odron told CEBU DAILY NEWS that a team from their office will be deployed to Lapu-Lapu City to ascertain if laws protecting human rights are being observed by village officials.
“We are likewise studying whether public shaming will fall under ‘inhumane or cruel treatment’ prohibited and punished under RA 9745,” said Odron in a text message to CDN.
“However praiseworthy or noble the intention of the government in eradicating the drug menace, if the process in which human rights of the suspects are trampled, such would be unacceptable in a democratic society such as ours,” he said.
“Under the human rights standards, the means do not always justify the ends,” Odron added.
Cebu Governor Hilario Da- vide III, for his part, denounced the shame campaign conducted by Barangay Pajo officials against suspected drug personalities there.
Davide, in an interview with Capitol reporters, warned that shaming identified drug users and sellers by painting their doors with the words “Identified Drug Dens,” may expose the officials to libel charges for such drastic action.
“Unless there’s proof, the accused can file libel complaints. These government officials are already attributing some offenses or crime to the person or the group,” said Davide.
Officials of Babag, Lapu Lapu City, headed by Barangay Captain Epifania Augusto, accompanied by policemen and members of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council, launch a massive anti-drug awareness campaign by posting friendly reminders bannered across public places.