• The latest Philippine National Police data shows that 20,584 kids are ‘users, pushers, runners’
  • Over 98 percent of surrenderers who are minors admitted using illegal drugs
  • Only 273 minors or 1.33 percent surrendered as drug pushers or sellers and 66 minors or 0.32 percent as drug couriers or runners

In just the first two months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in office, more than 20,000 minors have surrendered to local police offices, according to the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC).

In an article written by Vino Lucero of Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, it was disclosed that the PNP-WCPC data revealed that 20,584 minors have surrendered to local police offices from July 1 to August 28.

More than 98 percent of the surrenderers who are minors admitted using illegal drugs, 273 minors or 1.33 percent surrendered as drug pushers or sellers, and 66 young people or 0.32 percent identified themselves as drug couriers or runners.

Most of the children are from Central Visayas with 3,971; followed by Northern Mindanao with 3,783 surrendered children, and Zamboanga region with 2,196 minors.

According to the PNP, the minors involved in illegal drugs during the 78-month period covering 2010 until June 2016 included 5,110 illegal drugs users and 371 “traders/sellers.”

Different handling

Meanwhile, PNP-WCPC Chief Rosauro Acio said processing of child drug surrenderers and rescued minors are also different. For instance, he says, drug tests can be done on rescued minors only if they have a determined drug-related offense.

But when a child is a surrenderer, “he or she will be subjected to a drug test upon surrendering. Because the child volunteered, and we have to determine what substance he or she is taking – if it’s marijuana, shabu, or Ecstasy,” Asio noted.

“We go to the crime lab, we get the urine,” he stated. If the results are inconclusive, Acio says, they also do blood tests.