By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has warned local government officials in Visayas and Mindanao against getting involved in the narcotics trade or else face harsh consequences.
The President said local executives could also face charges of neglect of duty if they fail to address the drug problem in their areas.
“It is your duty to help your country. Ang sinabi ko nga sa inyo noon [I’ve been telling you], ‘Do not commit the mistakes sa drugs talagang hihiritan ko kayo [in drugs because I’ll really hit you back],'” Duterte said before an assembly of local chief executives from Visayas and Mindanao in Cebu City last Monday night.
“I am not threatening. I am here just to remind you na kung pwede lang huwag kasi magkaka-engkwentro talaga tayo [if you will not get involved because we will have an encounter],” he said.
Duterte said he has directed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año to file the necessary charges against local officials implicated in the drug trade.
“If I see a place and the governance is not working because it is flowing with drugs and everything. I told him to investigate and file the charges (of) neglect of duty, serious neglect of duty, or really worst is you are into prot.. (protecting drug lords),” he said.
Apart from fighting illegal drugs, the President said he needs the cooperation of the local government units in the campaign against terrorism. He told them to intensify security measures, warning of possible terror attacks in Basilan, Cagayan and Davao.
“Let me ask you bluntly kung gawain niyo ‘yan sa siyudad mo at lima pa o anim, kaya natin? [If it happens in your city, five or six places, can we deal with it?],” he said about the possible attacks by terrorists.
The President also urged them to utilize the police force in combating illegal drugs and terrorism, the two security challenges facing the nation.
“If I have not taken out that authority, then use it, use them. And do not allow them to be abusive or corrupt or into drugs. Kung may pulis ka na ganun, patayin mo [If you have a policeman like that, kill him],” he said.
Last year, the President met the country’s mayors and governors and urged them to abandon the drug trade or face death. He claimed having a list of government officials with suspected links to the narcotics trade but has not revealed all the names.