QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police relaunched on Monday an initiative to encourage residents of Quezon City to alert officers to alleged criminal activity by using anonymous drop boxes.
The boxes for suggestions, complaints and reporting of crimes will be distributed across 142 districts in Quezon City, just north of the capital city Manila.
Marvin Morales, a community leader from Quezon City, told epa on Monday that he believes the drop boxes will help the community.
He said that citizens who were afraid to report criminal activity for fear of retaliation or reprisals could anonymously inform authorities to help them investigate the allegations.
A similar initiative more tailored to apprehending drug peddlers and users due to be implemented in October was abandoned after opponents criticized the program’s aims and tactics, saying innocent people could be wrongly accused or implicated in crimes.
Human Rights Watch denounced the campaign as a “sinister new tactic” as part of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has left over 7,000 people dead since he took office in June last year.
Senator Risa Hontiveros was also critical of the drop boxes, saying they would be “prone to malice and abuse” and could lead to more “unnecessary deaths,” according to a press release of the Senate of the Philippines.
PNP officers were removed from the front line of the narcotics crackdown in October after public outcry over the deaths of minors resulting from police raids and operations.
More than 3,900 suspects have been killed by the police since Duterte launched his crusade against narcotics after taking office on June 30, 2016.
The death toll exceeds 7,000 when killings by vigilante groups and individuals are taken into account.