THE Philippine National Police (PNP) hierarchy seems to be looking the other way but not some well-meaning institutions. Supt. Byron Allatog, call him the “anti-Bato,” is one of this year’s The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardee for government service in the field of law enforcement, and that’s interesting. The selection of the prestigious TOYM awardees is a yearly project of JCI Philippines together with TOYM Foundation Inc., Gerry Roxas Foundation and PLDT.
Allatog, product of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and a graduate of a course in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Academy in Quantico, Virginia, is the chief of the police station in Bogo City. He gained recognition for doing the opposite of the diktat of PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. He is for rehabilitation over killing people linked to illegal drugs.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 conferred on Bogo City in August this year a drug-free status. What was noteworthy was the fact that this was achieved with zero deaths. While ordinary police officials conducted their war against drugs with a high level of harshness, Allatog, with help by city officials, preferred the humane way, focusing on rehabilitating drug addicts.
“Jail the pusher, save the user” is a motto that sounds anachronistic to the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs but it was effective, at least in Bogo City. This is probably the reason why Allatog has not been lavished with praise by the PNP hierarchy. In a way, he can be considered a bad influence as far as the current war against illegal drugs is concerned.
But not to TOYM organizers. The JCI Philippines website, for example, is proud of the selectiveness of the process of conferring the award to “outstanding young active citizens.” Their focus is on young men and women “whose selfless dedication to their profession or vocation has resulted in significant contribution to the welfare of their countrymen and our country.”
Allatog is proof that combating illegal drugs can be done effectively without law enforcers losing their humanity.