Google map of Lanao del Sur province.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-BARMM) has identified nine Lanao del Sur municipalities as candidates for “drug cleared” areas.

Following Thursday's 2nd Quarter meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council, PDEA-BARMM representative Marlon Santos said the towns were part of the monitoring of the drug trends, buy-busts, and barangay drug clearing program updates.

“Nine out of 39 municipalities are candidate municipalities to be declared as drug cleared municipalities. These are Amai Manabilang, Calanogas, Kapai, Kapatagan, Lumbatan, Masiu, Madalum, Pagayawan, and Piagapo,” Santos said.

Being identified as “candidates” meant that improvements were observed such as reduced incidence of drug use and trade, he added.

Meanwhile, Santos said drug sources in the province come from local drug syndicates that also source out from Chinese drug trafficking organizations in the National Capital Region and nearby Regions 3 and 4-A.

Santos said reports also suggest drug smuggling using backdoors of Malaysia and inter-regional Zamboanga-Basilan-Tawi-tawi as an entry point.

Dr. Nihaya Macasindel of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said the province's anti-drug abuse program has recorded 5,359 patients.

Most of the patients were assessed as low risk, and a number have enrolled and graduated in the Community-Based Treatment and Support Services, Macasindel said. (PNA)