75% of barangays in region are drug-cleared

PDEA SET TO VALIDATE REPORT

LINGAYEN—While reports from the ground operatives in the war on drugs indicate that about 75 percent of barangays in Region 1 are already drug-cleared, the oversight committee led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) intends to validate the submitted data given the new guidelines issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Jeoffrey Tacio, PDEA Region 1 director and chair of the oversight committee for the declaration of drug-free areas, said last week that 50 percent of the total barangays in Region 1 have already been cleared last year and before the campaign was suspended in March.

He said the continuing joint campaign of the PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP), local government units and other stakeholders in the war on drugs, the indicators show that the number of drug-cleared barangays have indeed increased “and it may have reached 75 percent but this is subject for continuing validation.”

The oversight committee is composed of the PNP regional director as vice chairman, and the regional directors of the  Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health and local government unit as members.

Declared drug-free towns Sto. Tomas and Laoac in Pangasinan, Burgos in La Union and Suyo in Ilocos Sur. No town has been declared drug-free yet in Ilocos Norte.

The declaration of a barangay as drug-free is made by the town or city police chief attested by the Municipal or City Anti Drug Abuse Coordinating Council chair, and the mayor, Tacio said.

He said the campaign is focused on barangay clearing because  “this will lead to our ultimate goal of a drug-free Philippines”.

He acknowledged the interventions particularly community–based rehabilitation already being launched in towns to help the self-confessed drug users and pushers who surrendered to reform and shun their former illegal activities.

Tacio also cited the looming scarcity of shabu in the streets as an indicator that the government is winning the war on drugs in the regions.

“There is no more bulk confiscation of illegal drugs in our area and we only get now .01 or .02 gram of shabu unlike before where we would regularly get 10 grams in our anti-drug operation,” he said.

He added that price of shabu risen to P30,000 to P50,000 per bulto composed of five grams. Prior to the intensification of the war on drugs, a ‘bulto’ of shabu only cost P3,500. (Tita Roces)

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