Nine more barangays were declared by the city police here Thursday as drug-free, raising the number of drug-free barangays in Dagupan to 21 so far.
Supt. Neil Miro, police chief of Dagupan City, said this already brought to 67.6 percent the number of barangays already cleared of the total 31 barangays in the city.
In a ceremony at the city museum, Mayor Belen Fernandez signed the certifications declaring Caranglaan, Mayombo, Malued, Bacayao Sur, Bacayao Norte, Lasip Chico, Binloc, Tambac and Lucao as drug free.
The certification was based on the resolution of the Barangay Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) in these barangays that they had complied with all the parameters set by a Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) resolution, series of 2007, and the "Oplan: Dalus Droga" of the PNP.
Under these two, a barangay can only be declared as drug free if there is no more drug pusher and user, and neither is a drug laboratory or shabu "tiangge" in their respective areas
Earlier declared drug free in Dagupan were Barangays Mamalingling, Salisay, Tebeng, Pogo Grande, Mangin, Salapingao, Barangay IV, Lomboy. Poblacion Oeste and Calmay.
Mayor Fernandez called on barangay chairmen to do everything they can to safeguard their areas from sliding back so that they will maintain their status as drug-free.
She advised them to seek the idle people in their villages and help them find jobs because idle people who have no means to earn a living are most vulnerable to drugs.
For his part, Miro assured that no shortcut was made in clearing the nine barangays, saying this was done through hard work and with the all-out cooperation of barangay people and officials.
He brought out files of profiles of drug users and pushers in every village which showed they are actually keeping track of all drug personalities in these barangays.
"If anybody will complain later why we declared this and that barangay as drug-free, he or she should feel free to come to our office and we will show him or her the basis of our decision," he said.
The 12 barangays earlier declared drug free are maintaining their drug-free status so far, said Miro, adding that this was based on their continuous monitoring.
In a talk to newsmen, Miro said he expects four to five barangays more to be again declared drug-free next week but admitted that their real target is to have at least 90 percent of the 31 baraqngays in Dagupan drug-cleared by the end of the year.
But he said if they are lucky and with the help of the local government and the barangays, they might still succeed in making Dagupan drug free by December 31.
He said this is not a tall order as far as he is concerned because he sees the conviction of the people of Dagupan City in wanting to see their city finally drug free.
Miro said the number of drug surrenderers in Dagupan city to date has reached 1,500 to date, admitting that the police are now targeting the newly emerged drug personalities.
At the same time, Mayor Fernandez called on barangay chairmen to recommend who among the drug surrenderers in their villages to be under the Program Sagip User Rehabilitation Empowerment (SURE) which to date has 20 beneficiaries.
These 20 are undergoing rehabilitation with the help of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center of the Department of Health (DOH) with their expenses all shouldered by the city so that they can be admitted back to the society as normal persons.
Some of the surreenderers are undergoing community-based rehabilitation through value formation and community activities, citing the 40 surrenderers of Barangay Tebeng who are now making a living by making lanterns and selling these to customers.
Meanwhile, Barangay Chairman Pedro Gonzales of Bonuan Binloc thanked the police for helping clear his barangay from illegal drugs, pointing out in the Project: Double Barrel, there were 97 drug personalities who surrendered.
He considers this as unprecedented after Bonuan Binloc was once tagged as the top drug lair of Dagupan in the past.
Gonzales told newsmen that the once notorious Sitio Silungan is now a community of peaceful people with the trouble-makers which included drug peddlers, already gone home to Mindanao or were arrested.
Saying that curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. helped maintain the peace in Binloc, Gonzales said he and the other barangay officials are standing guard 24/7 to prevent the trouble-makers who left Sitio Silungan return.
Gonzales thanked Supt. Miro, the chief of police, for his transparency and who had been continuously coming to the village till the problem is finally solved.
Miro also stationed a squad from the Public Safety Battalion in Region 1 in Sitio Silkugan to see to it that no more drug transaction happens there.
Source: Philippines News Agency