Over 700 suspected drug users, sellers surrender in QC

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These suspected drug users and sellers from Quezon City opt to voluntarily surrender to authorities on Friday – instead of facing arrest the next time around.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The chase is over for more than 700 drug users and peddlers after they voluntarily surrendered to authorities in Camp Karingal, Quezon City on Friday.

This is part of the Quezon City Police Department's (QCPD) "Oplan Katok at Pakiusap" or "Oplan KAPAK," which calls on drug users and pushers to stop their trade or face arrest the next time around.

Sr. Supt. Joselito Esquivel said those who surrendered would be given amnesty and assistance for rehabilitation.

They also underwent free drug test at Camp Karingal, and were asked to sign a sworn statement, promising to stop their illegal activities.

Esquivel said that Oplan KAPAK was patterned after the successful community-based anti-illegal drug campaign of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.

But Esquivel was quick to mention that the Quezon City's anti-drug efforts had long been in place. Oplan KAPAK is just the heightened version of their existing efforts.

"We're doing this even before with the current administration. But with the incoming president, with the policy direction against drugs, mas malakas lang ang dating ngayon at mas marami ang tumawag," Esquivel said.

[Translation: "We're doing this even before with the current administration. But with the incoming president, with the policy direction against drugs, the program's response has become better."]

The operation also strengthens the intelligence of the local police in tracing the sources of the illegal drug trade, according to Esquivel.

Only 12 barangays were involved in Friday's operation, but authorities said they would go to all the 142 barangays in Quezon City in the weeks to come.