Ozamiz City vows to crush illegal drugs
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Ozamiz City officials have started a crackdown on suspected drug personalities in line with President Duterte’s call for a war on drugs.
Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. said he has introduced “Oplan Tokhang” in his jurisdiction.
“Oplan Tokhang” (from toktok and hangyo, or knock and plead) — a concerted effort of the local government, the police, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and other government offices — aims to eliminate the selling and using of prohibited drugs, specifically methamphetamine hydrochloride of “shabu” by urging users and pushers to mend their ways and stop getting involved in illegal activities.
Parojinog said even before Mr. Duterte started the campaign, he was already an anti-drug advocate when he was elected as president of the Association of Barangay Chairs in 1997, and continued his advocacy when he became the city mayor in 2001.
Parojinog revealed that six of the city’s 51 barangays (villages) have been identified as heavily drug-infested, and one of them, San Roque, has more than 50 persons dealing in shabu, with a few drug lords operating in the barangay.
San Roque is located in an area more commonly known as “Lawis” and this is where, according to the mayor, the bulk of the illegal drug traders in Ozamiz set up their base of operations, who mostly get their stock from Manila and sometimes Marawi City.
San Roque has dozens of “langub (caves),” the local term for a drug den where users go to get high and pushers go to score shabu, which they sell to other areas.
The shabu business in the city has reached an alarming proportion that one suspected drug lord is said to be receiving 10 kilograms of shabu from his supplier in Manila on a regular basis.
Next to San Roque, Parojinog identified Barangays Triunfo, Sta. Cruz, Tinago and Carmen as having a high presence of drug dealers.
From these villages, the illegal drugs would then find its way to the Zamboanga Peninsula and other parts of Mindanao.
“Ozamiz has been notoriously known as source of shabu. We want to break that tag and make our city clean and ultimately drug-free,” he said.
Speaking to reporters during the launching of Oplan Tokhang over the weekend, Parojinog said he wanted to cut off shabu’s supply line for good by going after the drug lords and vendors in his city.
In San Roque and Sta. Cruz, Parojinog talked to suspected drug pushers and users and laid out the program of the local government for them to stop getting involved in the narcotics trade.
He said drug users could go to a rehabilitation facility and the city would shoulder the expenses of detoxification.
A livelihood assistance package awaits those who want to stop selling drugs. “They can choose whatever livelihood they want, as long as it is decent and legal,” he said.
Parojinog said he would encourage the drug personalities to come forward and promise not to go back to their old ways.
Meanwhile, the proposed rehabilitation center for the city’s drug users is already in the pipeline after the availability facility in the province was filled up by individuals who voluntarily submitted themselves to detoxification.
Both Parojinog and his daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, are working together to find a rehabilitation center.
The city government has been fast-tracking the bidding process to identify a rehabilitation facility that could serve Ozamiz’s users, said Parojinog-Echavez.
She said the city government has found one rehabilitation center that would suit the requirements of the city government and could be tapped as partner agency through the public-private partnership program.
“The identified rehab center has, so far, satisfied the requirement having a building and can accommodate 40 persons,” Parojinog-Echavez said in an interview.
Earlier, the City Council passed and approved the Comprehensive Anti-Illegal Drugs Ordinance, including provision for the reorganization of the Barangay Anti-Illegal Drugs Council (BADC). SFM
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