Pubdate: Mon, 18 Jul 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer
Author: Allan Macatuno

Rehab Program


OLONGAPO CITY- Confessed drug users and pushers have been asked to 
help the city government make caskets as part of their 
rehabilitation, to prove they were serious on abandoning their lifestyle.

"You will help the city government make caskets," which are provided 
for free to residents who could not afford one for a deceased family 
member, Mayor Rolen Paulino said when he addressed 400 people who 
surrendered en masse on Friday.

"There were people who died because they didn't have money to buy 
medicine. So how can their family afford a casket worth at least 
P20,000?" Paulino said. "This is going to be your source of livelihood."

Then in jest, the mayor added, "If you don't stop your old ways, you 
are going to use the casket you made yourself."

The 400 people gathered at the city's Rizal Triangle covered court 
were accompanied by village officials who convinced them to surrender.

The city government is also considering tapping those who have 
surrendered to make reusable bags, now that Olongapo is enforcing a 
ban on plastic bags.

"You were given a second chance to change for the sake of your 
family," Paulino said.

A 16-year-old boy was among those who surrendered on Friday. "I 
started using shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) when I was 12. I 
know this won't do me any good so I decided to surrender. I want to 
continue my studies," he told the INQUIRER.

Senior Supt. Jerry Sumbad, acting Olongapo City police chief, said he 
was happy that many heeded their call to surrender.

In Subic town on Friday, a mass surrender composed of 1,450 drug 
suspects took place in a covered court in Barangay Asinan Poblacion, 
said Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun.

As of Friday, 13,680 suspected users and pushers in Central Luzon had 
placed themselves under the custody of the police or the local governments.

The country has witnessed the mass surrender of drug users and 
small-time traders after President Duterte assumed office on June 30.

The President, during the campaign, had promised a nononsense, bloody 
war against illegal drugs.

As of last week, the INQUIRER had recorded more than 200 drug 
suspects either killed in police operations or found dead, slain 
vigilante-style, around the country.

Mr. Duterte had also named six retired and active police officials as 
alleged protectors of big-time drug traffickers in the country. He 
said he would also identify mayors who have links to the illegal drug trade.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom