Governor gives alternative to shame campaign: Jobs
Provide drug users and surrenderers jobs that can help the community.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III suggested this alternative instead of implementing different versions of the shame campaign done by some barangays in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu cities.
Davide said that he would not recommend the campaigns being done in Barangays Babag and Pajo in Lapu-Lapu City and in Barangay Ermita in Cebu City.
“I won’t recommend it to be replicated in the province. It gives a wrong signal. What they’re doing (in Barangay Ermita) is still a form of discrimination, and (it) has the same effect as the shame campaign,” he said.
Davide was also referring to Barangay Ermita’s campaign where barangay officials put “This is a drug-free home” signs in houses where families had been identified as having no links with illegal drugs in the village.
Davide instead recommended to barangay officials especially in the province to find ways to avoid a relapse among the identified drug surrenderers in their areas such as providing them tasks or jobs that could help the community.
“For the users and surrenders, give them something to do — like giving them environment-inclined jobs because, I think, having a clean and orderly surrounding actually helps in maintaining peace and order in a place,” the governor said.
Davide’s call came amid the warning of the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) chief to barangay officials not to implement or tolerate shame campaigns as a way to eradicate the illegal drug menace in the barangays.
CHR-7 Chief Investigator Leo Villarino said they would organize a forum to discuss about shame campaigns and why barangay officials should uphold human rights in implementing programs against illegal drugs.
“Once again, we would like to remind our constituents that the shame campaigns in Lapu-Lapu City and the ‘drug-free’ campaign in Barangay Ermita are forms of discrimination. What they’re doing is really illegal. That’s why we’re inviting the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), the ABC (Association of Barangay Councils) and our officials from Barangay Ermita this Wednesday for a forum to let them understand why they have to uphold human rights while implementing programs against illegal drugs,” Villarino told CDN in a phone interview.
Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta said that he was putting on hold his plans to put tarpaulins stating “Beware. This area is a drug den before.” until he could meet with the CHR-7.
But while Rupinta announced his plan not to implement the shame campaign, tarpaulins with the signs were already placed in two houses in the barangay — one at the back of a lumber supplier just a few meters from the barangay hall, and the second at the back of the Carbon Public Market unit I where fish vendors are located.
Rupinta, however, denied any involvement in the putting up of the signs on suspected drug dens.
“Gikuha man sa mga tawo. Ang mga silingan mismo ang mitaod. Wala koy labot ato (The tarpaulins were taken by the people, neighbors who live near the identified drug den. I was not involved in that),” he told Cebu Daily News.
He added that he would not take down the drug den labels for now since he said that these places are really identified as drug dens where even students would go to in order to use illegal drugs.
Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) Cebu City President Philip Zafra earlier said he also wanted to meet with Odron together with the other barangay captains who want to replicate the “positive approach” of labeling drug-free houses in Barangay Ermita.
Zafra, who is also the barangay captain of Tisa, said they are now finalizing with a schedule with Odron as to when the meeting will be done this week. Zafra earlier said he sees no human rights violation with the “drug-free” drive in Ermita which he also plans to do in Tisa soon.
But a resident of one of the houses labeled as a drug den expressed her disappointment over what happened. Although she admitted that the area used to be drug den, the woman, who requested that she not be identified, said it is not being done there anymore.
“Karon lang g’yud nila gibutang. Na-shock mi. Sauna nalang unta na nila gibutang kadtong naa pa toy manuyop dira. Dili karon (The tarpaulin was just recently put up. We were shocked. They should have done that before when there were still people who would use illegal drugs there. Not now),” she said.
She said they are worried as to the effect of the label especially to their other family members, some of whom are still students.
The woman said the barangay should have called a meeting with them first before doing the labeling.
Meanwhile, Rupinta said that they have already suspended the putting of “drug-free” tarps in the houses in the barangay.
He said he will still wait until after their meeting with CHR-7.
Rupinta said there are some residents who have already approached him and are asking for the tarpaulins so they can put it on their homes too. But he refused to give it to them saying it should be the barangay that would do it based on their records and verification.
So far, he said less than 500 houses remain to be visited and labeled by the barangay.
Rupinta reiterated that the campaign has brought positive results in their barangay.
He said some identified drug pushers have approached him and told him that they will stop selling illegal drugs.
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