Pangasinan as drug-free by year-end seen unlikely

GIVEN status of its continuing operations against drug suspects and the slow validation process, the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) has admitted it can no longer possibly meet its target to make Pangasinan drug-free by the end of the year.

P/Chief Inspector Norman Florentino, PPPO spokesman told the KBP Forum on Thursday, October 25, said the operations continue to arrest drug personalities, many of whom are newly identified drug dealers and former drug surrenderers.

He confirmed that since the police re-intensified the war on drugs in Pangasinan from July 12 this year, to date, a total of 774 drug personalities were arrested in 730 anti-drug operations in 37 towns and cities of Pangasinan.

The arrests were made in Alaminos City, Agno, Anda, Bani, Bolinao, Burgos, Dasol, Infanta, Sual, Aguilar, Basista, Binmaley. Bugallon, Labrador, Lingayen, Mangatarem, Urbiztondo, San Carlos City, Bayambang, Calasiao, Malasiqui, Mapandan, Sta. Barbara, Dagupan City, Manaoag, Mangaldan, San Fabian, San Jacinto, Urdaneta City, Alcala, Bautista, Binalonan, Laoac, Pozorrubio, Sison, Sto. Tomas and Villasis.

In these operations, 19 drug suspects resisted arrests and were killed. Fortunately, no operative was hurt.

These arrests were made in buy-busts, serving of search warrants and warrants of arrests, checkpoints, Oplan Sita and Police Response.

He said police are seeing the resurgence of drug trade by new drug personalities and a number of surrenderers that have resumed their criminal activities.

By standards set, a barangay or town reverts to its status as drug-affected if an identified drug personality is confirmed to be operating and is not arrested within one month.

At the same time, he said the slow validation process to confirm and declare towns and cities as drug-cleared by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office does not make it possible for all the towns and cities to be declared as such by yearend.

Of the 47 towns and cities of Pangasinan recommended by PPPO for validation, only 27 towns and Alaminos City (Sto. Tomas, considered as drug-unaffected), have only been validated as of October 25, Florentino said.

Once Dagupan City and San Quintin are validated, 16 more towns, including San Carlos City have yet to be validated.

Florentino said the status of 16 towns and San Carlos City were already submitted by the Pangasinan PPO for validation by the regional sub-committee and it is not likely that the validation process will be finished by December. (Leonardo Micua)

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