300 drug suspects yield in Surigao Norte town

GENERAL LUNA, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/12 July) — About 300 suspected drug peddlers, three of whom were considered notorious, have surrendered to authorities in this surfing town.

PO3 Ansgar Elliot, of the town police office, said on Tuesday that the suspects mostly came from the poblacion or town center.

Elliot said among them were three of the town’s top 10 drug peddlers who were on the police watch list.

He identified them as Rico Diaz, Durante Antipasado, Jim Plaza, and Necasio Sulapas, a former councilor.

The suspects started to submit themselves days after Rodrigo Duterte assumed office as president.

General Luna Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon said he expects more persons to surrender in the next few days.

He said most persons who are on the watch list have not turned themselves in, an observation shared by Elliot.

He said he had asked the 19 barangay chairs of his town to give more names of persons allegedly involved in the drug trade.

The town police office is implementing the nationwide campaign called “Oplan Tokhang” meant to convince drug peddlers and users to give themselves up before the police would hunt them down.

The suspects signed a written oath that they would no longer use or trade illegal drugs, and then were allowed to go home.

Some local residents said they are happy with the campaign as a way to save the youth from the drug menace.

“I have four boys and I’m so afraid that they would use illegal substance,” Gemma Plaza of Poblacion said, adding the “mass surrender” of drug suspects had never happened in this town before.

On Monday, Senior Inspector Shalom Faye S. Cornelio assumed as town chief of police replacing Chief Inspector Arnel Banaken. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)