QC barangay uses 'drug boxes' to collect names of suspects

MANILA, Philippines – Afraid to report to the police in person? Drop your tip in a box.

Since July 2016, Barangay Valencia in Quezon City has stationed 4 wooden boxes to collect names of drug suspects from residents who fear the risk of reporting.

That is actualy a joint project with Station 7 wherein yung merong alam tungkol sa mga nagda-drugs sa kanila at natatakot na magsalita, doon na lang naglalagay ng pangalan (those who know drug suspects and are afraid of speaking up, they just give the names there),” barangay captain Anna Millonado told Rappler.

According to Police Officer (PO1) Ramon Beltran, if they receive a name, they search for the person and confirm whether they use or sell illegal drugs, then they recommend them for rehabilitation.

The problem: Not a single tip has been dropped in the boxes. (READ: Witnesses name Manila policeman behind drug-related summary killings)

Hindi naman sila naglalagay ng pangalan talaga, kasi takot iba baka ma-involve kasi puwede makita na naglalagay,” Beltran told Rappler. (They really have not put any names because they are afraid to get involved since they can be seen.)

Beltran said people resorted to texting their barangay officials such as Millonado.

Despite the zero turnout thus far, they are continuing with the project. “Malay natin kung may maglalagay diyan (You never know when someone would put a tip there),” Beltran said. They check the boxes once a week. 

“It’s so that there’s an alternative para may choices sila para sa mga hindi alam ng public ang number namin (so that there are choices for those who do not know our public number),” Millonado added.

Valencia has been declared drug-free since December 2016, and they hope to maintain the record.

The effort is in line with the administration’s landmark campaign, the war against illegal drugs, which has pulled in at least one million surrenderees and has left thousands dead. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.