- The South Cotabato local government offered a mini-concert for an estimated 15,000 drug suspects who surrendered themselves to the authorities
- The South Cotabato PNP Provincial Director said that rehabilitating drug suspects instead of imprisoning them can help the pushers and addicts renew their lives and the government to save its financial resources
- The local government also launched “Oplan Bato” – a program which aims to help the drug suspects find an alternative livelihood
The local government of South Cotabato offered a mini-concert for approximately 15,000 drug pushers and users who voluntarily surrendered themselves to the authorities. The concert provided inspiring music that encouraged a complete renewal of life for the drug suspects.
According to Philippine National Police (PNP) South Cotabato Provincial Director S/Supt. Franklin Alvero, helping the drug suspects change their lives can help them achieve their dreams and have a brighter future. He also believes that the government itself benefits from rehabilitating drug criminals instead of sending them to prison.
“So malaki yung ginagasto ng gobyerno sa isang tao lang hanggang sa makulong,” the provincial director said.
(The government spends a lot of money and resources to keep in prison just one person.)
The mini-concert was led by Orlando Nuevo, a former drug addict and ex-convict who has now become an evangelical pastor. He said that the drug suspects in the country are not evil people but are just victims of unfortunate circumstances.
“Pinaniniwalaan ko na itong mga pushers na ito, itong mga users na ito, mga biktima ito. Iba’t-ibang mga reason bakit sila napasok dito, and then yung mga reason na iyon dapat mabigyan ng solusyon,” the pastor explained.
(I believe that these pushers, these users, they are just victims. They have different reasons why they became involved in illegal drugs, and these reasons should be addressed and solved.)
One of the drug suspects who surrendered to the police and has attended the mini-concert said that using or pushing illegal drugs would get people nowhere.
“Sarili ko lang, ginusto ko lang magbagong buhay. Wala na akong mapupuntahan kung patuloy akong gumagamit ng drugs,” one of the concert attendees who used drugs for six years said.
(It was my own decision, I just wanted to change my life. I will not get anywhere if I just continued using illegal drugs.)
The South Cotabato local government also launched “Oplan Bato” for the drug suspects who surrender themselves peacefully. This program aims to provide drug users and pushers with an alternative livelihood that is honest and more stable.