Around a thousand from different sectors joined the grand anti-illegal drugs campaign rally yesterday, marching from Camp Dagohoy to the CPG Sports Complex.
Police provincial director, Senior Supt. Felipe Natividad, led personnel of the Bohol Police Provincial Office in organizing the grand rally to mark his commitment to Gov. Edgar Chatto to make Bohol drug-free.
The BPPO had gathered a thousand participants from Oplan Tokhang surenderees, employees of the provincial and city governments, academe, Muslim community, non-government organizations and the civil society groups, and other stakeholders.
Consistent with the activityâ€™s theme, â€œBatukan ta ang Droga, Gubaton ta ang Durogistaâ€, the participants waved placards with messages such as â€œSumpoon ta ang droga. Ibagsak ta ang tanang durogistaâ€; â€œWalaâ€™y maayong kaugmaon sa tawo nga nalulong sa illegal na drogaâ€;Â â€œDrugs: You use, you loseâ€; â€œLeave drugs to live and save the future livesâ€; and â€œMake health your â€œnew highâ€ in life, not drugsâ€; among others.
During the program at the CPG Sports Complex, Chatto called for unity in â€œsaving Bohol from the drug menaceâ€.
Before the governor proceeded with his speech, he requested a moment of silence for police officers who sacrificed their lives in Bohol’s long-time intensified crusade against illegal drugs.
Chatto launched the aggressive campaign against all forms of criminality, especially illegal drugs which he labeled as the root of all evil, when he assumed office in his first term as governor in 2010.
In fact, he made the capacity to curb the drug menace as the main basis in choosing police provincial directors.
â€œFight against illegal drugs is not the sole work of enforcement agencies. It has always been a task made easier with stakeholder collaboration,â€ Chatto added as he urged Boholanos to continue helping save lives by reporting information about illegal activities which is an important component in solving crimes.
While the rally was merely a kick-off activity to refresh the all-out war against criminalities, Chatto urged all sectors of society to become part of the solution.
â€œLet us be one in saving Bohol from the menace of illegal drug abuse,â€ Chatto appealed.
For his part, Natividad also urged the public to continue helping authorities as the Philippine National Police is sincere and is working hard to fight illegal drugs.
He said it is inspiring to see sectors coming together for the advocacy.
Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap, for his part, warned of zero tolerance against drug personalities.
He also promotes sports and other activities in the community, and the Paglaum Center in barangay Cabawan to serve as rehabilitation center for children in conflict with law.
Yap urged the youth toÂ engage in sports and socio-cultural activities to veer away from illegal drugs.
In a testimony, a former drug addict who turned into a drug runner, shared that it was faith in God that bailed him out from the pitfall.
He said he had been hooked on illegal drugs from aged 14 to 32, quite a span of a dark chapter of his life.
He had undergone rehabilitation thrice and had been jailed for his offenses.
Every after a period of rehabilitation, he had a hard time resisting the lure of drugs and returned to the usual vices. But in the end, he let the will in himself to prevail and managed to change.
He appreciated his family who never gave up on him.
He also thanked the support from the government side, saying that the police repeatedly advised him to quit from drugs, until he was apprehended in the long run.
God always forgives even if â€œhumansâ€ give up on their brethren, he added.
IN LINE OF DUTY
InÂ 2014,Â Boholanos rose in outrage against illegal drugs after it turned out that a gang of high-profile drug personalities had been behind the ambush of dedicated chiefs of police in Danao and Ubay.
Police Chief Inspector George CaÃ±a, then chief of police of Ubay, succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds mostly in the face in an early evening ambush on June 7, 2014.
He died a hero at 47 at the height of aggressive drive against drug personalities.
CaÃ±a still had a number of drug personalities in the list to pursue and had once declared that he never feared death in his crusade.
The SWAT Team from Camp Dagohoy tracked down his killers the morning after and killed the leader, Owen Rosales- -a dismissed cop- -along with five others.
CaÃ±aâ€™s murder came barely a month and a half after the slay ofÂ the officer in charge of Danao police station, SPO1 Noel Romagos of Danao, on April 29, also at around 7:30 p.m.
In June last year,Â a composite police team from Danao and Bukidnon tracked down one Dario Suello- -the suspected gunman in Romagosâ€™s murder- -in an operation at Magsaysay St. in Poblacion, Valencia City, Bukidnon.
In August 2014, an ex-convict who was leading a gang of drug runners woundedÂ PO1 Michael June Ejoc in a drug raid in Poblacion 1, Tagbilaran City. Ejoc later died in the hospital.
In less than 48 hours, the SWAT Team intercepted his killer, Artemio Tare Jr., at a checkpoint in Guindulman. Tare was killed in the shootout.
Tare was convicted for illegal drugs in 2003 and was released from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa in 2013.
Another cop, PO3Â Herminigildo Abella, was killed a few months after the intense elections in Inabanga in 2013.
In January this year, the combined forces of a team from Inabanga Police Station and the Provincial Public Safety-SWAT Team killed a known contract killer, Renato Petalcorin, who had been tagged in Abellaâ€™s murder.(AV, with reports from Leah Marchil Sumampong