THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has finally declared towns of Bayambang and Mangatarem, as the 21st and 22nd drug-free towns, respectively after both have been validated to have accomplished the minimum parameters to be declared a drug-cleared community.
P/Superintendent Roland Sacyat, Bayambang chief of police, said all the 77 barangays have been cleared of illegal drugs and all the 540 drug personalities from the different barangays that surrendered have undergone the community-based rehabilitation program set by the PDEA, Local Government UnitS, PNP, TESDA, NGO that included livelihood training, random drug tests and physical fitness.
After it was declared as a drug-free community, Sacyat acknowledged that his police station now face the bigger challenge on how to maintain it a drug-free community.
He said to maintain its status, it could only mean one of two things: either drug syndicates are able to keep their operations very discreet or the syndicates have shifted to other areas, meaning no more drug trading in the town.
He said the town’s officials and the PNP have also established a system to continuously monitor the activities of the reformed drug personalities in order to secure the town from illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, Mangatarem was declared the 22nd drug free town.
P/Chief Inspector Junmar Gonzales, Mangatarem chief of police, said 68 previously drug-affected barangays have been cleared of illegal drugs, while 14 (Bogtong Bunaw, Buaya, Cabaluyan 1st, Cabaluyan 2nd, Cabaoasan, Cacaoitan, Tarataraan, Caturay Norte, Dorongan Kitaket, Dorongan Linmansangan, Naguilayan West, Salavante, Suaco and Takitan) remained unaffected.
Gonzales said all the 714 drug personalities that surrendered also completed the series of community-based rehabilitation program that included livelihood training, random drug testing and physical conditioning.
Mangatarem PNP also formed ‘Tokhangers’ a group composed of barangay officials and representatives of PNP and religious groups, tasked to monitor, visit and remind reformists of their accountabilities.
Gonzales said the Mangatarem government has allocated P1.5 million fund to support the continuation of the illegal drug campaign of the Duterte Administration.
He said, the P1.5 million budget allocation will be shared by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, Municipal Health Office and Mangatarem Police Station. (Nora Dominguez)
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