On Kalag-Kalag, kin remembers drug war casualties

By Bohol Island News | 12:37 PM November 2, 2019

Still mourning, Junjie Escabas visited the tomb of his cousin Conchito Escabas at the Loon Catholic Cemetery on Saturday, November 2.

Escabas, a suspected drug pusher and gun-for-hire, was killed in a police buy-bust operation in Loon town on July 12, 2016.

Junjie said he remembered Conchito as a hard-working young man.

“We all made mistakes,” said Junjie who prayed that Conchito is now in peace.

Jeffrey also visited the tombs of his two cousins at Dampas Cemetery who were likewise killed in the drug. The tombs had no flowers nor candles. This was probably because his aunt was not able to visit the cemetery due to old age, he continued.

Meanwhile, Arlie Ayeng was killed last August 1 by unidentified men. Arlie was said to have visited his half-brother Herculano in Barangay Cogon to drop off his laundry when unidentified men barged into the room and shot the two. They died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Arlie’s other brother, Mark, was killed in 2015 in a buy-bust operation.

During Kalag-kalag (Undas), which is traditionally observed as solemn, families head to cemeteries to honor and remember their dearly departed.

For these families, the pain runs deeper as their relatives and friends did not simply die a natural death as they were killed.

“We will always remember them,” said Jeffrey.

Bohol Provincial Police Office shows 39 drug pushers were killed by still unidentified suspects while 22 others perished in clashes with policemen in 2016.

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Bohol reported in July 2019 that drugs remained to be an issue in Bohol province.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), based on their Seal of Good Housekeeping Project, reported that of Bohol’s 294,696 households, 255, 208 have been declared free from drug use.

Lately, several drug arrests have been from former TokTok-Hangyo (Tokhang) identified drug personalities or “surrenderers.”

During the heat of the Oplan Tokhang, police convinced some 37,996 Boholano drug pushers and drug users to surrender to authorities to determine the degree of help that the government can lend to the drug dependents.

According to the Bohol police, in the first six months of 2019, authorities have recovered over a kilo of illegal drugs with a combined Dangerous Drugs Board determined street value amounting to Php 8,033,798.90 as of July 2019.

Police authorities have arrested 254 personalities and filed 273 cases on any of the violations against illegal drugs from January to June this year.

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