Under a cloud of being abused

TACLOBAN CITY- Starting this month, all the 138 barangays of this city would be required to install drop boxes wherein names of suspected drug dependents, among others, would be dropped in.
Lawyer Darwin Bibar, city local operations officer, said that the drop box is one of the mechanisms wherein names of individuals who are suspected for committing illegal acts could be charged accordingly.
He, however, said that barangay residents who have a complaint against their co-residents or officials, fearing their security, and whom they claimed to have committed crimes like corruption or abuse of authority, could also use the drop box.
“We are doing this with the consent of the barangays and we have requested the (barangay people) to report all kinds of crimes to include illegal drugs,” Bibar said.
Asked on the possibility that this mechanism could be abused, Bibar said that they have devised a scheme to verify the information.
“There is a safety measure because we are aware that this could be subjected to abuse. We will ensure that this report will undergo validation process and will be forwarded to the concerned agency like the city police or PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) or Office of the Ombudsman,” he said.
“We will not just act on them without undergoing a validation, considering this will be done anonymously,” Bibar added.
He also added that their office has trained personnel on intelligence gathering.
Their office will issue an envelope to the barangays which they will use in writing the names whom they suspect to be drug dependents, for example, Bibar said.
Bibar said that the putting up of the drop boxes in the villages is in consonance to a directive from their central office in the light of their campaign dubbed as ‘Masa Masid’ or ‘Mamamayan Ayaw sa Anomaliya, Mamamayan Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga.’
Ronnie Dayon, barangay chairman of Brgy.71, this city, said that while he would comply with this directive, he still has apprehension on the putting up of drop boxes.
“There is no doubt that this could be abused. One who has an axe to grind against his neighbor, for example, could write the name and place it in the drop box,” he said.
About 27 drug users of Dayan’s village voluntarily surrendered under the government’s ‘Oplan Tokhang.’
Bibar said that while their office is behind on this campaign, it is the barangay which will shoulder the cost in the making of the drop box.
According to Bibar, each drop box would cost P1,300 and should be made from a fiberglass and placed outside the barangay halls.
“The fund should be sourced from their Badac (barangay anti-drug council),” he said.
He added that they target to put up all the drop boxes by October 25.
Aside from the barangay halls, they also intend to put drop boxes at the City Hall and even Church.