CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña warns the public to be cautious should the plan of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to put up “tip boxes” in villages to help the war on illegal drugs be implemented.
“Let them try it. All I am doing is trying to tell people: Be careful. There are some barangay officials that are involved in drugs,” he said.
Osmeña expressed fears that the program could put the lives of the public at risk as there are barangay officials involved in the illegal drug trade.
In some barangays, there are closed-circuit television cameras which could be used to monitor those who will drop names in the boxes, Osmeña explained.
“They might identify who is putting these reports in the box. I am just giving warning, caution to people,” he said.
While the mayor believes the program will not be an effective way to crack down on illegal drugs, he said that he will not prevent DILG from implementing it.
Police Regional Office director Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino welcomes the initiative which is expected to be implemented next month in each of Cebu City’s 80 barangays as part of DILG’s implementation of its Masa Masid (Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga) program.
The drop boxes to be set up in barangay halls are among the prescribed methods of reporting crime aside from hotlines, e-mails and text messaging.
Espino said that the move is not new to PRO-7 since this has been done in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, through what is called a “suggestion box” at the police station.
“Our box in Tagbilaran Police Station is not only confined to illegal drug information. It also solicits suggestions on how to improve the police stations … and also those policemen who are being complained of,” Espino said.
Espino said that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) need not worry about the tip boxes since the information received through the boxes will be treated with confidentiality.
He likened DILG’s tip boxes to the Civil Service Commission’s anti-corruption drive.