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CHR cautions DILG, barangays on village drug lists

An alleged drug user from Taguig City listens as officials talk during the launch of Oplan Tokhang in the locality in 2016. INQUIRER FILE/LYN RILLON

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as barangay (village) officials, to be “more discerning” in carrying out the directive to submit a list of suspected drug personalities in their communities.

“The Commission on Human Rights welcomes community-based programs directed to strengthen the government’s effort to curb the issue of illegal drugs and criminality,” CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.

“However, we urge the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as barangay officials, to be more discerning in carrying out the directive to submit a list of suspected drug pushers and criminals in their communities,” she added.

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De Guia pointed out that while the Commission has “consistently maintained that intelligence gathering in pursuing drug personalities is a function of law enforcement,” giving sanctions to barangay officials who would not comply could lead to a practice of “unthorough” submission of names.

Pending the issuance of a comprehensive guideline on the conduct of the directive, the Commission expressed willingness to join forces with the DILG to “ensure that adequate safeguards are observed.”

“The DILG must also present a clear process on how barangay officials will obtain valid information on the suspected personalities, as well as ways to verify the integrity of that information,” De Guia stressed.

“The Commission reiterates its call to the government to evaluate its anti-illegal drug campaign and adopt a more responsive and human rights-based approach to combatting criminality, while providing avenues for collaboration to concerned communities and sectors who genuinely want to contribute in achieving the government’s goal of providing a dignified life for all,” she added.

Last Jan. 9, newly-appointed DILG undersecretary Martin Diño issued a directive to barangay officials to submit a list of suspected drug pushers and suspected criminals in their respective communities, or face sanctions. /cbb

READ: DILG Usec Diño to barangay execs: Submit drug list or face ax

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