Over 6K barangays now drug-free: PDEA

MANILA As the government's anti-drug campaign marked its second year, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday bared that 6,562 out of 42,036 barangays in the country were already cleared of illegal drugs from July 2016 to June 2018.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said that for 2018, PDEA aims to clear 7,328 barangays from illegal drugs, or a projected average of 617 barangays per month.

He noted the lead agency against illegal drugs aims to clear 24,424 barangays from illegal drugs by 2022.

Before declaring that a barangay is free from illegal drug activities, the committee must convene and validate the non-availability of drug supply in the area and the absence of drug transit activity, clandestine drug laboratory and chemical warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den, drug pushers and users.

Once cleared, we must ensure that drug-free barangays will maintain their status. All our efforts will go to waste if we allow the resurgence of illegal drug activities in these areas, Aquino said.

To accelerate efforts against the proliferation of illegal drugs in drug-affected barangays, the government has adopted an integrated approach in securing the assistance of the local government units in drug-clearing operations, the PDEA chief added, citing Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3 Series of 2017, otherwise known as Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.

In its update on "#RealNumbersPH", PDEA said from July 2016 up to June 2018, that total value of illegal drugs seized is PHP21.29 billion while 2,738.73 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as "shabu", with an estimated value of PHP14.66 billion were also seized were in 714. 92 kilograms of shabu were confiscated from smuggling and 318. 39 kilograms were confiscated from manufacturing particularly from the dismantling of clandestine laboratories.

Authorities have arrested a total of 147,802 individuals involved in illegal drugs from July 2016 to June 2018.

Of this number, some 229 were elected officials, 52 were uniformed personnel, and 245 were government employees.

Around 102,630 anti-illegal drugs operations by joint law enforcement agencies were also conducted during the period.

Duterte has repeatedly declared that he will not stop his crackdown against illegal drugs that resulted in the killing of 4,354 drug personalities in legitimate police operations.

Aside from PDEA, agencies involved in the anti-illegal drugs operations are the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) among others.

Meanwhile, the joint law enforcement agencies rescued 1,161 minors during the anti-illegal drugs operations from July 2016 to June 2018.

According to Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD), those rescued minors, after court proceedings, will be turned over to the Bahay Pagasa centers of local government units (LGUs) within eight hours of police custody, before turning them over to the DSWD centers to undergo counselling to help reform them back to society.

Since they are minors, DSWD said, they will not be put in prison together with hardened criminals. (With reports from Rachel Banares/OJT/PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency