Fear of Duterte’s vow to kill drug dealers prompted 23 drug pushers to surrender

• 23 drug pushers and users surrendered to South Cotabato police
• Those who surrendered vowed to reform and stop their illegal drugs activities
• The Surallah town police furnished all barangay officials with a PNP list of people engaged in illegal drugs

Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s all-out war against illegal drugs has started to have a chilling effect on people involved in the illegal drug trade.

His offer to give monetary rewards to lawmen and civilians who could kill drug dealers had sent shivers down the spine of drug pushers and users in South Cotabato.

Fearing summary execution, 23 self-confessed drug pushers and users presented themselves before the police in Surallah town in South Cotabato and promised to no longer engage in the illegal drug activities.

Chief Inspector Joel Fuerte, Surallah town police chief, said those who surrendered were made to sign the Philippine National Police (PNP) Certificate of Undertaking to prove that they were not arrested but voluntarily showed up at the police office to declare their dependence on prohibited drugs.

Fuerte said the Surallah PNP has been conducting “cleansing operations” to rid the town of drug pushers and users even before the much publicized statement of Duterte urging the public to arrest drug dealers or kill them if they violently resist.

The police chief claimed the surrender of the 23 people involved in drugs was the result of their intensified campaign to eradicate illegal drug trade in Surallah.

Earlier, the Surallah police furnished barangay officials with a PNP list of suspected pushers and users.

“If, based on police monitoring, those who showed up and vowed to mend their ways have indeed reformed, they will be delisted from the PNP list,” Fuerte said.

As noted in an Inquirer article written by Edwin O. Fernandez, Senior Supt. Franklin Alvero, South Cotabato police director, earlier urged all those involved in the illegal drug trade and with crime groups to surrender before the assumption to power of the Duterte administration on June 30.