DILG scraps drug, crime drop box project

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — The Department of Interior and Local Government on Wednesday decided to scrap plans to use drop boxes for drug and crime reporting in barangays over concerns it would be open to abuse.

The DILG made the decision following a suggestion from Sen. Risa Hontiveros during the Senate deliberation on the agency's 2018 budget.

The Interior Department had originally floated the idea of a nationwide drop box scheme where residents could anonymously report suspected drug users or peddlers.

The idea was patterned from a similar project in Quezon City, but was slammed by critics who were concerned it would be used for personal grudges.

During the hearing, Hontiveros said drop boxes for drug and crime reporting were susceptible to abuse.

"It will only be prone to malice and abuse and can lead to unnecessary deaths… Sabi nga nila [like they say] the more entries you send, the more chances of killing," Hontiveros said.

The Senator instead suggested the realignment of the DILG's ₱500 million budget for its Masa Masid anti-drug program to existing anti-drug council and local development council projects and training of police personnel.

The Masa Masid is the DILG's community-based program aimed at "preventing corruption, illegal drugs, and criminality in barangays."

Hontiveros said the funds can be used to strengthen their programs and capacity building efforts instead.

In response, Sen. JV Ejercito, the sponsor of the DILG's budget, said the DILG commits to eliminate the drop boxes for reporting law offenders.

He added, however, it has yet to consider if it can completely realign all funds for the Masa Masid program.