Press Release
October 3, 2017


Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday criticized the Department of Interior and Local Government's (DILG) order to local government units (LGUs) to set up drop boxes for illegal drug reporting.

The senator said that the initiative is "foolish and dangerous."

"This 'drug box tokhang' is prone to malice and abuse. It is unilateral and arbitrary. Lacking any credible system for vetting, case-building and exacting accountability, any name can be written down and dropped in the said drop box," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros described the practice as crowdsourcing possible victims of extrajudicial killings. "This could lead to unecessary deaths if pieces of paper become the sole basis for inclusion in so-called drug lists, arrests and conduct of police operations against suspected individuals," she said.

"The individuals whose names are written on pieces of paper could also become vulnerable to threats from vigilante groups. What would stop extrajudicial killers and vigilante groups from breaking the drop boxes and getting the submitted names?" Hontiveros added.

It was reported that the order came via a DILG memorandum circular dated August 29, which set up the guidelines for the DILG's community-based program in battling criminality and drugs: Masa Masid. Under the program, the DILG calls on barangays, municipalities, and cities to set up drop boxes to receive information on drug dependents and peddlers.

"Hontiveros to realign Masa Masid budget"

Hontiveros said that she will realign the P 500 Million in the proposed 2018 DILG budget from Masa Masid to other important allocations such as strengthening the government's public health approach in addressing the country's drug problem.

"What we expect from the government is modern, rules-based and human rights-centric drug law enforcement not witch-hunting," she concluded.

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