Barangay officials will become more involved in the government’s ‘War on Drugs’ following the appointment of former Subic Bay Metroplitan Authority Chairman Martin Dino to the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Dino, the newly appointed DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs, revealed that he was mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte to assist the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
In line with this, Dino believes that barangay officials can assist PDEA by providing information on suspected drug personalities, and suspects for other crimes.
The DILG official believes that incumbent barangay officials are aware of the identities of the barangay officials in their areas since their term was extended twice.
“Palagay ko naman yung tatlong taon nila, during the time of P-Noy, at saka yung dalawang taon ni President Duterte, alam na ng ating mga barangay kung sino-sino itong mga pusher, kung sino-sino itong mga drug user sa kanya-kanyang barangay.” Dino said during the DZRH’s Breaktime.
Dino also hopes for barangay and DILG officials to have a discussion with suspected drug pushers and users.
“Baka naman pwede ang barangay muna at DILG ang makipag-usap sa mga drug dependent o kaya dito sa suspected na pusher.” Dino further added.
The official also plans for barangay officials to join anti-illegal drugs operations so that they can testify regarding the legality of it or if police abused their authority.
“Kapag nagkaroon ng encounter, nandiyan ang barangay to certify that there is a legitimate encounter.” Dino explained. “Kung halimbawa, yung pulis, nakasuko na, binarill pa niya, siyempre mananagot siya. Nandiyan ang barangay to certify.”
Meanwhile, Dino also admitted that barangay officials might include oppositors or political rivals to their list of drug suspects.
Due to this, the DILG official plans to coordinate with non-government organizations, and the church to verify the information.
“Meron tayong mga NGO, mga people’s organization sa barangay, itatap din natin sila para makapag-bigay din sila ng report.” Dino said.
Dino also warned that charges could be filed against barangay officials that are proven to have falsely accused individuals of being drug suspects due to personal feuds.
“Ipapatawag natin, kung ituro siya. Sabihin na itong si kapitan, nilagay lang ako diyan. Baka makasuhan ko pa yung kapitan na usurpation o grave use of authority.” Dino promised. “Meron tayong check and balance, verification para dito.”