PDEA: 3,677 barangays nationwide hard drugs-free

MANILA-- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday bared that 3,677 out of 42,036 barangays in the country are declared cleared from hard drugs after a year of the Duterte administration's continuing campaign against hard drugs trafficking.

These barangays have reached drug-cleared status after issuance of a certification by members of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program, said PDEA Director General Isidro S. LapeAa in a statement.

The Oversight Committee, which is chaired by PDEA, is composed of provincial representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGUs).

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 pusher and user," said LapeAa.

The declaration is pursuant to the parameters set forth by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) as provided in Section 8, DDB Board Regulation No. 3 Series of 2017, otherwise known as Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.

LapeAa said that 20,104 or 47.83 percent of the total barangays in the country are drug-affected.

Out of these barangays, 68.5 percent or 13,782 are classified as slightly affected, 30.4 percent or 6,114 barangays are moderately affected, while the remaining one percent or 208 barangays are seriously affected, he said.

He noted that the creation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, or ICAD, has unified, integrated, and synchronized all anti-illegal drugs efforts and strategies to holistically address the problem.

The Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) composed of 39 member-agencies aims to clear 5,272 barangays before the year ends. If we can sustain the pace, ridding the country's drug problem in the next four years is very much doable, the PDEA chief said.

The National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest rate of barangay drug-affectation with 97.3 percent, followed by Region 13 at 86.58 percent, and Region 7 at 82.75 percent.

The region least affected by the drug menace is the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) at 3.49 percent.

A barangay is said to be drug-affected when there is a reported presence of drug user, pusher, manufacturer, marijuana cultivator or other drug personalities and facilities regardless of number in the area.

There are three basic parameters in determining barangay drug-affectation: slightly affected, moderately affected, and seriously affected.

Barangays are considered slightly affected if there is a reported presence of less than two percent of barangay's total population are drug personality; moderately affected if there is a reported presence of two percent to 20 percent of a barangay's total population are drug personality; and seriously affected if at least one drug laboratory, den, dive or resort, marijuana plantation, more than 20 percent of barangay's total population are drug personality, and three or more drug dens or tiangges, are reported to exist in the community.

On June 2, 2017, Batanes has earned the distinction of being the country's first province proclaimed hard drugs-free upon the verification and approval of members of the Oversight Committee which includes representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

After a thorough and rigid scrutiny of the requirements, and verification and validation processes done by the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing Operations headed by its Chairperson Regional Director Laurefel Gabales of PDEA Regional Office II, the province of Batanes was declared drug-free, LapeAa said.

Batanes has six municipalities, namely: Basco, Sabtang, Uyugan, Ivana, Itbayat and Mahatao and 29 barangays. All were declared drug-cleared by the Chiefs of Police and were attested by the respective Municipal Mayors/Chairman, Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (MADACs) last December 29, 2016.

LapeAa said that the nation is on the warpath against a PHP120-billion hard drugs trade industry that threw its full might leaving nothing but trails of human suffering, criminality, corruption and economic instability.

Source: Philippines News Agency