SO NEAR YET SO FAR – Now it can be said that the dream of Dagupan City to be completely drug-free is no longer elusive but is now actually just within its reach, just hours and days more of sacrifice.
Our final liberation from illegal drugs is one which we can describe as “so near, yet too far” because 90% of the city’s barangays are already cleared of drugs with only three barangays yet to be cleared. (After clearing Barangays Pantal and Pogo Chico, that only leaves Barangays 2 &3, Calmay and Pugaro as hold-outs.
It is still too far because many believe it is not easy to clear the three remaining villages as the police noted.
It is in Calmay where a drug group continues to operate whose leader managed to elude arrest possibly with the help of his neighbors and cohorts who tipped him of the presence of arresting policemen.
In the island village of Pugaro, the police are looking for identified but still unaccounted members of the so-called Garcia drug group. Supt. Neil Miro, chief of police, believes they are still active while hiding.
In Barangays 2 & 3, there were reports gathered by the police that some drug personalities continue to visit the village at night.
In sum, there are close to 20 drug personalities that the police have yet to account for in the three villages.
Even Mayor Belen Fernandez believes that clearing of Barangays 2 & 3, Calmay and Pugaro needs extra caution because of the magnitude of the problem in those villages. She even warned the police not to rush clearing them till they have fully accounted for all the missing drug personalities.
Nevertheless, Police Chief Miro expressed confidence that with the help of residents, clearing the three villages this month is doable.
To date, only Sto. Tomas, the hometown of former Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Bebot Villa remains as the only town in Pangasinan certified by the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as drug-free. – Leonardo Micua
COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF TPLEX – Business, especially for eateries, was severely affected when the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway was opened. That’s the sad reality.
In a recent visit to Urdaneta City Mayor Bobom Perez in his office, he discussed many topics with us, albeit briefly, with no ready data.
But two matters caught my attention: the local economy and the peace and order in his progressive city.
No doubt, commuters welcomed with much relief the construction of TPLEX for fast travel. It saves on time and fuel. But restaurants, especially those along the national highway frequented by travelers, are hurting badly. (Motorists would rather have quick meals in convenience stores and fast food chains while traversing the TPLEX. Time is of the essence for them).
Mayor Bobom, however, could not say how big the “losses” have been for the local businessmen particularly restaurant owners because of this. They became the latest collateral damage of the development brought by TPLEX construction.
On another issue, he also clarified a report made by Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police director for operations of the Pangasinan Police Office. He said the claim of the PPPO that the missing 41 firearms was donated by the city government is not true.
There was no such donation, the mayor countered. He even called in City Administrator Ronald San Juan to confirm if there were any firearm donation made by the city to the city police station as claimed by Candelario.
None sir, Ronald claimed. Nothing of that sort, he stressed.
Nineteen of the 41 missing firearms of Urdaneta City Police Station have been recovered as of Jan. 7.
At that time, Barangay Kagawad Leonardo Francisco, 52, resident of Rizal St. Zone 6, Barangay Bayaoas reportedly went to Urdaneta City Police Station on the same day and surrendered one Cal. 45 Armscor with one magazine.
Francisco claimed he acquired it from Barangay Captain Mariano Locquiao of Barangay Dilan Paurido sometime in the last week of October 2016.
Report from Urdaneta City Police Station said that supplemental statement of Francisco is being made part of the case build-up against those involved and possible cohorts into the missing firearms while intelligence gathering continues to determine the whereabouts of the missing firearms and their “owners.”.
The mystery of the missing firearms thickens. — Tita Roces
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