Officials troubled over fate of young surrenderers
THE Cebu provincial government has sounded off the alarm over the rising number of young drug users and pushers who have joined the rush of self-confessed drug surrenderers across the province.
Noting figures from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Cebu Provincial Council for the Protection of Women and Children (PCWC), in a meeting yesterday, expressed concern over what to do with the hundreds of young self-confessed drug offenders who had gone to police stations to surrender.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who heads the council suggested seeking the help of the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) to help surrenderers.
“Maybe through social rehabilitation. They won’t be confined but will just be followed up by authorities like social workers. There is a program on this under the CPADAO,” Magpale told reporters yesterday.
Based on records of the Women’s and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), a total of 1,223 minors, with ages between 11-18, surrendered to different police stations all over the province for the month of July alone.
“The youngest among them is an 11-year-old drug user. Some of them were brought in by their parents, some of them went in groups,” said Inspector Margeniette Yosores, chief of the WCPD.
“So far, the reason given by some of the minors that we were able to interview was that they are afraid,” Yosores said.
The Duterte administration has launched an all-out war against illegal drugs vowing to wipe out drug dealers and pushers who refuse to surrender.
According to Yosores, the young surrenderers all went to the police station freely and voluntarily and were allowed to go back home after signing an undertaking to not get involved in illegal drugs again either by using or selling.
The minors were profiled by the respective police stations based on who among them had become highly dependent on illegal drugs and who had just started.
Yosores said that although the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 will be involved in addressing the problem of surrenderers, the WCPD has yet to know of specific projects and programs that will be afforded to them by DSWD.
Yosores said that PCWC, of which her office is a member, can help provide livelihood or educational assistance to the young surrenderers.
With the help of the Department of Education (Deped) 7, those minors who have dropped out of school can be made to return through the Alternative Learning System (ALS), Yosores said.
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