DRUG surrenderers and boxing hopefuls strut their wares at the “Battle at Malcolm Square: Laban Para sa Pagbabago” during the weekend as part of the Baguio Charter Day celebration with a theme “Baguio: Land of Champions” and the National Crime Prevention Week.
Spearhead by the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and the Baguio City Government, city director Senior Superintendent Ramil Saculles said Laban Para sa Pagbabago is part of the “community-based rehabilitation and wellness program for drug surrenderers.
Saculles said there are 2,381 drug surrenderers in Baguio who were given physical activities as part of their rehabilitation and through physical activities such as boxing, drugs are flushed out of the user’s system.
Drug surrenderers fought against amateur boxers as surrenderers Raymond Marrero and Aldaniel Santos winning their respective matches. The surrenderers trained for two-and-a-half months with police officers and martial arts experts.
Jerryloyd Penaranda meanwhile scored the most impressive victory after stopping Jay Delfin in the first round via by technical knockout.
Saculles said the event will even help some of the surrenderers get license for professional boxing.
Cordillera fighters such as mixed martial artist world champion Eduard Folayang and former Olympian Roel Velasco were also in attendance during the event with Folayang encouraging amateur boxers to pursue their dreams and train well.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he is looking at institutionalizing the event in the city after hundreds flock Malcolm Square and a nearby overpass.
Domogan added sports is a good avenue to avoid drugs and through sports, people will focus less on drugs.
“Dito sa Cordillera, makikita na malalakas ang bata; kulang lang sila sa opportunities,” Domogan said. “Through sports activities like this, baka madiscover ang Pacquiao of the North o kaya Hopkins,” referring to American professional boxer Bernard Hopkins who also spent time in jail before turning to sports.
Both Domogan and Saculles encouraged Baguio resident to work together against illegal drugs. (Jenny Alexis Caburian, UP Baguio intern/SunStar Baguio)