Palace welcomes surrender of drug users

Ruth Abbey Gita

MALACA√ĎANG welcomed on Thursday the growing number of drug dependents who have surrendered since the Duterte administration began its intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that President Rodrigo Duterte has become successful in his vow to curb drugs in the country.

"The voluntary surrender of thousand of self-confessed users and pushers reaffirms our people's renewed faith and trust in authorities. In his resolute campaign against drugs, the President has even made it possible to unite the populace in combating the illegal drug trade," Andanar said.

"While the campaign against drugs is far from perfect, a generation of Filipinos have been saved from this scourge of society and destroyer of lives. Many communities are now relatively drug-free with record-high number of people giving up to authorities, choosing quieter and healthier lives," he added.

Andanar made the statement following the report by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that nearly 60,000 users and drug pushers surrendered to authorities across the country.

In a press conference, Chief Superintendent Camilo Casola, PNP directorate for operations chief, said that of the figures, 57,816 were drug users while 2,157 were drug pushers.

With the number of individuals who surrendered, Andanar said that the government has to "seize the momentum."

Andanar, however, clarified that the government will not tolerate any violence means and that the law enforcement agencies are told to follow rules in conducting operations against individuals linked to drug sale.

He added that summary executions performed by vigilante groups will not be tolerated.

"Government is against any form of extra judicial killings. We do not condone these acts. Government is here to save our people from the drug menace and punish these offenders, including the big-time ones. The PNP continues to investigate situations involving vigilante killings and operational aspects where deaths are reported," he said.

The government is planning to create rehabilitation centers in every region. (Sunnex)

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