By: Elena Grace Flores
It did create some commotions this morning in our Makati residence when the son of our house help from Lebak, Sultan Kudarat called her mom to ask for advice with regards to his friends’ inquiry if they can also surrender since they have tasted illegal drugs two years ago, particularly shabu. They witnessed 40 natives from the mountains who surrendered at the Municipal Hall of Lebak and after listing their names, they were given Php 4,000 each. Some also fear that since they have bought once from a pusher that they will be subject to extra judicial killings to shot them up.
I said, as far as I knew the President’s call is only for the operators like pushers and drug lords and not long-time users who are not addicted to it. I am also certain that there were no rewards given but these witnesses that we’ve talked to insisted that the natives really did get the 4,000 Pesos reward thus triggering their interest to surrender also to get the money even if they are not sellers of illegal drugs just like the natives thus resulting to too much confusions and chaos.
This leads me into speculating that the surrenders in Tagum and other parts of the country can be used as media propaganda that the campaign is effective because of massive surrender – despite the wrong profile of the ones who surrendered. That amount of money is a lot in places like Lebak and Tagum. I am sure that is not the intention of President Duterte thus the reason for the inquiry. One thing is for sure, the anti drugs campaign may have logistics in place but the time is just not enough for a proper public awareness campaign to take place.