BOGO CITY POLICE
Winning the drug war with zero casualties
Raised by parents who taught him that human life is sacred, a police officer assigned in northern Cebu has shunned quick antidotes to the country’s illegal drug problem at a time when killings abound, left, right and center.
Rather, Bogo City’s 39highlighted the value of year-old police chief Supt. human life. Byron Allatog believes in “Human life is imporgiving drug pushers and tant. Some people say addicts a chance to live ‘That is a drug addict. He and change their ways. is nothing but trash.’ But
While the number of do these people even condrug-related deaths pile sider the fact that these up in other localities, Bodrug addicts have famigo City has not recorded lies? I want people to even a single killing since know that killing is not the the policeman assumed final solution to solve the his post nearly a year ago, problem of illegal drugs,” in December 2016. Allatog said, his voice
But despite the absence calm but convincing. of bloodbath during poAllatog, who underlice operations, Bogo City, went training at the US located 97.8 kilometers Federal Bureau of Investiaway from Cebu City, begation (FBI), was once adcame the first city in Cenjudged as the Philippines’ tral Visayas and the secmost Outstanding Police ond nationwide to be deOfficer in Service by the clared by the Philippine Metrobank Foundation Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National (PDEA) as drug-cleared. Police (PNP) in the year
For Allatog, everyone, 2014. even the worst criminal, A graduate of the deserves a second chance. Philippine National Police
“I am born a Catholic, Academy (PNPA) Class of raised a Catholic even as I 2001, he also served as converted to Islam when I part of the country’s congot married. I am not retingent to the United Naligious, but I respect hutions Peacekeeping Efman life. As early as forts. kindergarten, I was taught Day after day, Allatog to honor God above all,” visits the villages of Bogo Allatog told CEBU DAILY City, making sure that resNEWS. idents are encouraged to
Allatog, who was born share their problems to to a family of farmers in him and jointly find a soBontoc town, Mountain lution. Province, belongs to the He offers to even the Bontoc-Igorot tribe. poorest among them his
Growing up, Allatog cellular phone number was taught that anyone and urges them to text who kills another human him whenever they have being must offer prayers concerns. and three pigs to atone for “Ever since, my apsins in a ritual called proach is community“chaw-es.” based. I want to empower
Considering their lean people down to the grassincome, Allatog said it was roots level so they will difficult for his family to support all our peace and get the swine which would order efforts. I want to escost them at least tablish their confidence P30,000. and trust. Good enough,
When he became a poI’ve been able to get much liceman, Allatog put into support,” he said. action, both at home and Indeed, Allatog’s comat work, everything that munity-based approach he learned as a child, and has led many to offer feed- back and reports that are giving the Bogo City Police Station a huge lift.
“Information is powerful,” he said.
Understanding the problem
After President Rodrigo Duterte launched an allout war on illegal drugs in July 2016, Allatog deemed it necessary to make people understand the urgency to end the narcotics problem in the country.
“Many of the crimes that are prevalent — theft, robbery, physical injuries, rape — are caused by illegal drugs. It is definitely necessary to wage war against illegal drugs, but not the persons who are into it,” he said.
“I told my men, if it is not necessary to kill, then why do it? Of course, we have to defend ourselves when the call arises. But as much as possible, I want suspects to live,” he narrated.
At least 1,955 users in the city have surrendered to the police, while 45 drug pushers were arrested in different police operations. No one was killed.
Last July 2017, PDEA declared all of Bogo City’s 29 barangays as “drug-free,” a recognition given to localities where there are no more drug pushers.
Allatog said there has been no letup in their campaign against illegal drugs as some drug peddlers from other towns and cities continue to visit Bogo City.
Allatog helps the Bogo City government in its three-month drug rehabilitation programs which involve seminars and physical activities that had made a difference in the lives of more than 200 drug surrenderers.
Bogo City Vice Mayor Maria Cielo Martinez, head of the communitybased drug rehabilitation program of the local government unit, said they encouraged those who completed the program to be each other’s support system.
“We are giving drugsurrender ers a reasonable solution to the problem at hand. The good thing is we are so proactive in addressing the issue. We face the problem head on and find solutions to it,” she told CDN.
Drug rehabilitation, she said, is a laborious way to address the illegal drug problem, but it is the right thing to do.
“If we want fast results, that (killing) is the path you take. In all honesty, if you choose the path of no killings, it is a rigorous process. It’s very tedious, labor intensive and drains the resources of the city. We never thought it’s going to be the hard way,” Martinez said.
Though his techniques are tedious, Martinez believes that Allatog is on the right track.
“We support him. I think what he is doing is consistent with our principles and values. Definitely, that’s the direction that we want to take in addressing the drug problem,” she said.
“We have to do what our people deserve. As public servants, we always believe we are here to serve them and to really put forward what is in their best interest, and killing is not one of them,” she added.
Now that Duterte has ordered PDEA to be the “sole agency” in charge of the drug war, the Bogo City police — like all other PNP units in the country — will cease to conduct their own anti-drug operations.
But Allatog promised to do his best to help PDEA in whatever manner, if needed.
“When I’m gone, I want people to at least remember me as someone who served them well. I am but a simple police officer who wants nothing but the best service for the people,” he said.
Before his deployment in Cebu, Allatog was first assigned at the Manila Police District then transferred to the Quezon City Police District. He was eventually assigned as police chief in Bongao, TawiTawi; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; La Trinidad, Bengu et; Cordillera Administrative Region; and Benguet. He was then appointed as assistant regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Calabarzon.
In all his 17 years of police work, Allatog appears to strongly abide by the PNP pledge of maintaining a high standard of professionalism.
And as the PNP battles to keep its reputation from ruin, Allatog assures that there are still many cops like him who do their best to serve the country well.
“These police scalawags are just too little compared to those who are doing good,” he said.
The new Bogo City Police Station, completed just barely five months ago, is where pro-life police officer Supt. Byron Allatog holds office although he spends a lot of his time on the field, reaching out to the different villages of the northern city in hopes of ending the drug problem for good. His tedious method has proven to be very successful. Bogo City has become the first city in Central Visayas and the second nationwide to be declared as “drug-free” by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. The major accomplishment came with zero deaths in police anti-drug operations.
Supt. Byron Allatog
Vice Mayor Cielo Martinez