ILOILO CITY — Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is not at all threatened by the impending transfer of Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to this city as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mabilog said that the proposed transfer of Espenido is a “welcome development” because he will be able to see for himself the initiatives of the city and assess whether or not these are enough.
“As we welcome Chief Inspector Espenido, let us show him and let us show our dear President that illegal drugs has no place in Iloilo City,” Mabilog said in his message during the flag-raising ceremony here Tuesday.
He then urged everyone’s cooperation as his office, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) cannot do the job of addressing the problem on illegal drugs alone.
He also emphasized that Iloilo City is different from Iloilo province but both have efforts to address the problem.
Iloilo has a government unit-led rehabilitation initiative called Crossroads, Mabilog noted.
Of the 3,180 surrenderers in the city, 1,200 have already availed of the treatment and rehabilitation. Those who have not yet submitted themselves to rehabilitation are being revisited under “Oplan Reboot” of the PNP.
PNP and PDEA also avail of support using the city’s peace and order funds. Data from the Iloilo City Peace and Order and Public Safety (POPS) plan disclosed that each law enforcement agency was appropriated PHP8 million in 2017.
The funds were for the conduct of drug testing, community and school-based anti-drug preventives, operations against high-value targets, procurement of surveillance vehicles and motorcycles and drug clearing operations.
Since 2016, Mabilog said that 376 positive operations were conducted by the said agencies.
In 2012, the city government provided PDEA with a detention facility. They were also provided with vehicle for the transport of the K-9 and four motorcycles to increase their response time.
“Wala kita nagkulang (We are not remissed), according to my ability and my knowledge. I publicly would like to say I am sorry, I apologize to the media, to the people of Iloilo City if it is not enough. But then, I did exert everything,” Mabilog said who turned emotional while delivering his message.
“One thing I am quite sure of, with God as my witness, that I have never protected anyone, especially in illegal drugs. Never. I will never do that. Probably this challenge is a mission from our Lord. I am a Christian. We are all Christians. Some of us here are brother Muslims. God is the beginning and is the end. He is the Alpha and the Omega,” he added.
Mabilog will call for a meeting with the Iloilo City Peace Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ICADAC) this week. The meeting will tackle how the city government will further support PDEA, PNP and even the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on the rentals of K9 dogs to “lock down our city.”
In his message he also emphasized that he is bent on finishing his term until 2019 because he has the mandate of the people.
“I will stay because and foremost, I have never protected anyone against illegal drugs even any form of criminality,” he stressed. (PNA)