PPPO DECLARED 1,254 DRUG-FREE
WHILE the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) has already declared 1,255 barangays in Pangasinan as drug-cleared, records, however, of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office, shows that only 442 barangays of the total 1,254 drug-affected were officially validated as drug-free by the regional oversight committee.
The number now includes the 14 barangays of Burgos, the 11th town in Pangasinan declared as drug-free by PDEA last Wednesday.
Bismark Bengwayan, information officer of PDEA Regiion 1, told the Bombo Radyo Dagupan that the number constitutes less than 50 percent of the 1,254 drug-affected barangays of Pangasinan.
He, however, believes that the number of validated drug-free barangays in Pangasinan will increase some more in the next few days, noting that a big number of the drug personalities that surrendered in the towns and cities have already completed the community-based rehabilitation program.
Meanwhile, Supt. Franklin Ortiz, chief of police of Dagupan City, confirmed that in the level of the local police, Dagupan is now drug-free.
Dagupan now joins over 35 towns and a city in Pangasinan recommended by by the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) for validation by PDEA.
Ortiz said, however, that maintaining the city of Dagupan as drug-free is a big challenge because they have to strictly monitor all the 31 barangays of the city to ensure that not a single drug pusher or user will go back to their old ways.
The last of 31 barangays of Dagupan–Barangay II & III– was finally declared drug-free per a certification by the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) headed by Mayor Belen Fernandez.
Mayor Fernandez, chairman of CADAC and Ortiz as vice chairman, signed the certification when the Baragay Anti-Drug-Abuse Council (BADAC) of Barangay II & III presented a resolution attesting that they have already complied with all the requisites for their village to be finally declared as drug cleared.
This came a week after the island Barangay of Pugaro became the 30th barangay cleared of illegal drugs by the Dagupan City police but their monitoring in the barangays will continue to help maintain their drug-cleared status.
Meanwhile, the start of operation of the Pangasinan Drug Rehabilitation Center in Barangay San Vicente, Burgos is still being awaited.
The center was expected to be completed in July this year but no announcement has yet been made by the provincial government if the deadline was met.
The rehab center, which has a dormitory facility, is intended to only accommodate slightly affected drug users with the moderately and severely affected to be recommended to the Dagupan Drug Treatment and Rehab Center. (Leonardo Micua)