BAGUIO CITY—Drug suspects in numerous barangays nationwide will be “shepherded and taken care of” by the government and their neighborhood officials, Local Government Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno said here Monday.
While their activities “will not be condoned,” Sueno said drug suspects will still be catered to by the government agencies concerned, contrary to the perception of international human rights organizations who are against the on-going “stickering” of houses of residents not involved in the illegal drug trade.
Sueno was the city’s guest of honor and speaker during the grand float parade for the annual Panagbenga Festival of flowers. He said the “shepherding” was part of the “overall synchronized approach” to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
If there are 20 households in a certain area and 15 households are considered uninvolved in drugs, Sueno explained, “then drug free stickers will be placed on their residences,” while those five households that have been pinpointed to be involved in illegal drugs will not receive stickers.
The drug suspects will then be steered back to mainstream society “through the various interventions of government with the support of their neighbors,” he added.
Sueno said the Duterte administration’s stickering campaign is “far more humane” compared to the shame campaign of former Manila City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, where houses of identified drug suspects were marked with paint.
He rallied local officials to support the government’s approach to curb illegal drugs, aside from the campaign of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to go after identified drug suspects.
The government will continue consulting with the various sectors of society to solicit their input on how to improve “the unrelenting and uncompromising campaign” against illegal drugs in the country,” Sueno said.
Earlier, Sueno met with officers of the Regional Peace and Order Councils from all over the country to discuss new strategies to sustain the campaign against illegal drugs. This was after President Duterte removed the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation from the implementation of the government’s anti-drug campaign.