DRUG CLEARED. The Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing declares two more barangays in Zamboanga City following deliberation Monday (April 25, 2022). A total of 17 barangays of Zamboanga City, which has 98 villages, are now drug-free. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency–Region 9)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – With the recent addition of two "drug-cleared" villages, this city now has a total of 17 barangays declared free from the drug menace by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing (ROCBDC).

“Declared as drug-cleared are the barangays of Cacao and Calabasa,” Emerson Margate, the ROCBDC chairperson, said Tuesday.

Margate, who is also the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional director, said the two villages were given the "drug-cleared" status following deliberation proceedings on Monday.

Barangays Cacao and Calabasa officials, he said, presented their respective anti-illegal drugs campaign to the oversight committee, along with documentary evidence on both past and ongoing intervention programs to rehabilitate drug users in their areas.

Margate said only one out of 98 villages here —Barangay Pangapuyan — has been declared by the PDEA as “unaffected” ever since.

The 17 drug-cleared city barangays are Licomo, Limaong, Sibulao, Tictapul, Tigbalabag, Calabasa, Cacao, Lapakan, Tolosa, Landang Laum, Lanzones, Pasilmanta, Lumayang, Capisan, Dulian and Pamucutan.

Margate explained that before declaring that a barangay is free from illegal drug activities, the committee must validate the non-availability of drug supply in the area and the absence of drug transit activity. A barangay must also have no clandestine drug laboratory, chemical warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den, drug pusher, and user.

Meanwhile, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar encouraged other barangays in the city to "exert their best efforts" to clear their respective villages of illegal drug activities.

The Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) encompasses a holistic and whole-of-nation approach to addressing the drug problem by enlisting the participation of local government units, government agencies, and various stakeholders of the national anti-drug campaign. (PNA)