- Bloodless anti-drug campaign in Bogo City, Cebu province credited to young police chief
- Officer said he values human lives, believes killing won’t decisively stop the illegal drug trade
- He also said their grassroots approach enabled them to tackle city’s drug problem effectively
MANILA, Philippines – With the Philippine National Police (PNP) hit by allegations of extrajudicial killings, one of its officers have managed to do the almost-paradoxical: Keep his city drug-free and death-free at the same time.
As police chief of Bogo City, Cebu, Supt. Byron Allatog achieved the distinction of having his area declared free from drugs — the first in Central Visayas and the second in the entire country — with no record of any related killings since he assumed the post in December 2016.
An Igorot from Bontoc, Mountain Province who was taught the value of life by his parents and his tribe, the 38-year-old Allatog said he would always tell his subordinates how he wants them and any druggie they encounter to come out alive.
“I told my men, if it is not necessary to kill, then why do it? Of course, we have to defend ourselves when the call arises. But as much as possible, I want the suspects to live,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Admitting that his beliefs have been put to the test especially with President Rodrigo Duterte’s hardline approach to the drug problem, Allatog nevertheless stays on his belief bodies of dead drug pushers and addicts piling up won’t definitely solve the problem.
“Human life is important. Some people may say ‘He’s a drug addict, nothing but trash.’ But do these people even consider the fact that these drug addicts have families? I want people to know that killing is not the final solution to the problem of illegal drugs,” he said.
Despite the accolade, Allatog said he will stay vigilant in keeping his city free from drugs with the same approach he credits for his success — actually talking and reaching out to those affected by the drug war.
“I want to empower people down to the grassroots level so they will support all our peace and order efforts. I want to get their confidence and trust. And so far, I’ve been able to get much support,” he said.