Heart of the matter

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    TO AQUINO’s fist of fury, Gov. Lilia G. Pineda’s heart of the mother.

    At the surrender and pledging rites of the over 10,000 drug suspects, she pleaded.

    Pinakiusap ko po kay PD, kay RD, sa mga chief of police na huwag na ninyo silang katukin, baka sabihin lumaban. Ipakuha ‘nyo na lang sa kapitan para ilabas sila. Pinakiusap ko na po ‘yon, na huwag nang kakatukin tapos lulusubin ang bahay. Lumabas na lang po kayo, sagot po kayo ni Gov (I requested the police provincial director, the police regional director, the chiefs of police not to knock on your doors, it might be said they resisted. Let the village chiefs get them. I requested for that, that they don’t knock on your doors and barge into your homes. Just come out, you will be in Gov’s care).”

    Pineda there well aware of police Operation Tokhang (knocking on the houses of drug suspects to convince them to surrender) turning into knock-knock-bang-bang – the drug suspects ending up dead, reportedly while fi ghting it out with the cops or grabbing their fi rearms.

    No, it does not end with the surrender of the drug suspects: “I don’t want them to just surrender. We will assist them and their families through the provision of educational and livelihood assistance.”

    This, even as she lamented where she could have gone wrong — Saan ako nagkamali? – shocked at the large number of surrenderees.

    Pineda has called on all LGUs and government line agencies in the province, the religious sector and the academe and all other stakeholders to enlist their support in a holistic approach towards the reformation and rehabilitation of the surrendered drug victims.

    This, as she acknowledged that the P10- million allocation for Dalan ning Pamagbayu (Road to Change) approved by the Provincial Peace and Order Council “is not enough” to address the needs of the “reformists.”

    LGUs can allot the necessary budget for rehabilitation and closely monitor their activities.

    Line agencies, like TESDA, can provide services to develop the skills and capabilities of the surrenderees towards economic productivity.

    “What is critical is to engage them in activities to make sure that they will totally quit their addiction and have a better life. I am planning to conduct a tree planting activity in Mt. Arayat as part of their physical fi tness cum livelihood program,” the governor said.

    “And, of utmost important, the support system from their families as they turn over a new leaf in their life towards a brighter, drugfree future.” The Gov, all a matter of the heart there, as ever.

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