Op­po­si­tion backs re­view of anti-drug cam­paign

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - By Jose Santino S. Bunachita RE­PORTER RE­VIEW

SOME Barug Team Rama coun­cilors sup­ported yes­ter­day the de­ci­sion of Cebu City barangays to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend the la­bel­ing of “drug-free” houses pend­ing re­view.

While they were mixed over the cam­paign ini­ti­ated by Barangay Er­mita, the op­po­si­tion bloc were unan­i­mous in say­ing that guide­lines should be set that are ac­cept­able to stake­hold­ers es­pe­cially the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights (CHR) 7.

“The shame cam­paign is a con­sti­tu­tional is­sue. If they re­ally want to make it more le­git­i­mate, the ini­tia­tive should come from the fam­ily. They should vol­un­teer if they want to be la­beled,” Coun­cilor Ray­mond Alvin Gar­cia said.

In last Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing be­tween the CHR and some barangay offi- cials, it was agreed that the CHR should re­view the le­gal im­pli­ca­tions of the cam­paign.

It was also agreed that house own­ers should place the stick­ers in­stead of the barangay of­fi­cials.

And in­stead of la­bel­ing a “drug-free” home or house be­ing a “drug den,” the la­bel should in­di­cate that the fam­ily liv­ing in the house sup­ports a drug-free com­mu­nity.

Coun­cilor Ed­uardo Rama Jr. said this is a more pos­i­tive mes­sage while Coun­cilor Pas­tor Al­cover Jr. also said it is bet­ter to let the fam­i­lies them­selves put up the la­bels.

“We should en­cour­age res­i­dents to at­tend di­a­logues for them to un­der­stand. If we force the stick­ers, it may cre­ate an­i­mos­ity among the neigh­bors why one is la­beled and the other is not,” Al­cover said.

Coun­cilor Gar­cia said Er­mita’s ear­lier cam­paign to put up “drug-free” signs in houses is a pos­i­tive ap­proach and should be com­mended.

“For me, it’s bet­ter to have this pos­i­tive cam-

paign be­cause you are not brand­ing any­one as be­ing a drug de­pen­dent of be­ing in a drug den. You’re giv­ing credit where credit is due. Houses that are not in­volved in il­le­gal drugs should be re­warded,” he said.

Coun­cilor Joel Gar­gan­era, how­ever, said the ap­proach used by Barangay Pajo in Lapu-Lapu City to la­bel sus­pected drug dens is a bet­ter cam­paign.

He said la­bel­ing drugfree barangays takes more time since there are more of them.

Gar­gan­era said though that there should still be proper val­i­da­tion be­fore la­bel­ing houses as drug dens.

Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña still sup­ports the cam­paign done in Barangay Er­mita.

“The ini­tial move of Imok (Rupinta) in pro­mot­ing that was the best thing he has ever done in his barangay in the last 20 years. And then he backs out. Pal­pak diay? I don’t know,” he told re­porters yes­ter­day.

He said though that as long as there are ef­forts against il­le­gal drugs whether it be the vol­un­tary la­bel­ing of houses, it is still a step in the right di­rec­tion.

As to the tip boxes to be set up by the Depart­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (DILG) in each of the city’s 80 barangays, the coun­cilors were also di­vided.

Coun­cilor Rama said the tip boxes can be used by peo­ple to wage a per­sonal ven­detta against their neigh­bors or even their barangay of­fi­cials. He said there should be guide­lines on its use.

Rama said leaks should be pro­hib­ited, cit­ing as an ex­am­ple the leaked drug test re­sults of barangay chair­man Ami- lo Lopez who was ini­tially found pos­i­tive of il­le­gal drug use. Lopez’s con­fir­ma­tory tests turned out neg­a­tive.

Coun­cilor Gar­cia says other crimes can be re­ported and Coun­cilor Gar­gan­era agreed.

“It boils down to val­i­da­tion. There should be as­sess­ment and check and bal­ance,” Gar­gan­era said. The tip boxes will roll out next month.

In Barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City, Barangay Chair­man Ju­nard Chan said he will en­cour­age con­stituents to la­bel their houses as drug-free.

“That way we won’t be blamed by the CHR since it is the peo­ple them­selves who are do­ing it,” he said.

Chan also said they will con­tinue to co­or­di­nate with po­lice and sus­tain their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and liveli­hood pro­grams for drug sur­ren­der­ers. / WITH CORRESPONDENTS I NNA GIAN MEJIA AND NORMAN V. MEN­DOZA


Bi­naliw Barangay Chair­man Wil­son Ba­cor (cen­ter) shows a sam­ple sticker with a mes­sage “This fam­ily sup­ports a Drug-Free Com­mu­nity” to Re­gional Di­rec­tor Arvin A. Odron (left) and Leo Vil­lar­ino (right) of the Com­mis­sion of Hu­man Rights (CHR-7) dur­ing the...

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