4,747 barangays now drug-free: PDEA

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

December 3, 2017, 3:17 pm

MANILA -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) announced that 4,747 out of 42,036 barangays in the country have been cleared of drugs in line with the government's ongoing anti-narcotics campaign.

This was disclosed by PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino based on the monthly update on "#RealNumbers".

"These barangays have reached drug-cleared status after issuance of a certification by members of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program," Aquino said.

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

"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," the PDEA chief emphasized.

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”.

A barangay is said to be drug-affected when there is a reported presence of drug users, pushers, manufacturers, marijuana cultivators and other infrastructure related to the illegal narcotics.

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 user/s of illegal drugs are drug personality in barangays; moderately affected if there is a reported presence user/s and pusher/s of illegal drugs are drug personality of a barangay; and seriously affected if there is drug laboratory, den, dive or resort, marijuana plantation, are reported to exist in the community.

On June 2, 2017, Batanes has earned the distinction of being the country’s first province to be proclaimed drug-free.

In its monthly update on "#RealNumbers", Aquino said from June 2016 up to November 27, 2017, 163 drug dens and nine clandestine shabu laboratories were dismantled while different illegal drugs were seized worth PHP18.92 billion.

PDEA said authorities also arrested 118,287 individuals involved in illegal drugs from July 2016 to November 27, 2017.

Included in the total figure are 435 government workers -- 185 of them elected officials, 42 uniformed personnel, and 208 government employees.

Around 79,193 anti-illegal drugs operations were conducted by by joint law enforcement agencies during the period.

As of November 27, 2017, the consolidated report showed that 3,967 drug suspects have died during operations while 86 were killed in action and 226 wounded from the law enforcement agency during the anti-illegal drugs 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.

The joint law enforcement agencies rescued 589 minors during the anti-illegal drugs operations from July 2016 to November 27, 2017.

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 would not be put in prison together with hardened criminals. (PNA)