PRO-7 director Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba (File photo)

MANILA – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 (Central Visayas) reported that 100 more villages in the region have been declared as drug-cleared.

In a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday, PRO-7 director Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba said the figure consists of 47 villages in Cebu province; 45 in Bohol; seven in Negros Oriental; and one in Mandaue City.

Also declared as drug-cleared was the municipality of Pilar in Camotes Island, also in Cebu.

Alba said local government units (LGUs) that were recently declared drug-free were also recognized during the launch of the "Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan" (BIDA) program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the Visayas Cluster at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City on November 26.

The launch was simultaneously done with other areas nationwide participated in by various government offices and stakeholders in the Visayas, with DILG - Central Visayas as host, to encourage the public to become staunch advocates in weeding out illegal drugs.

The BIDA program is a holistic campaign against illegal drugs aimed at reducing drug demand in the communities.

It also underscores the commitment of law enforcement agencies, such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the National Bureau of Investigation, to an intensified anti-drug campaign within the framework of the law, with respect for human rights and complemented by rehabilitation and socioeconomic development.

“This is just the beginning of a challenging journey. But with everyone’s assistance and support, we believe that we can address the drug menace and make the Central Visayas community a more peaceful and drug-free region. Layunin po natin sa BIDA Program na mahuli ang malalaking drug supplier, paigtingin ang drug rehabilitation para sa mga drug dependents, at makapagdeklara ng maraming drug-free barangays (The BIDA Program aims to catch big drug suppliers, intensify drug rehabilitation for drug dependents, and declare many barangays as drug-free),” Alba said.

He noted that from November 20 to 26, a total of 81 drug personalities were arrested while illegal drugs with an estimated street value of PHP22 million were seized.

No casualties were recorded in the conduct of police operations over the period.

In the same period, 130 gamblers were arrested while nearly PHP14,000 worth of bet money was seized in 62 anti-illegal gambling operations.

The PRO-7 also confiscated 17 unlicensed firearms and three explosives and arrested nine persons.

It apprehended 18 most wanted persons and 73 others with pending warrants of arrest.

“Within this perspective, it is recognized that Team PNP Region 7 holds ourselves accountable to maintain the highest degree of integrity, a strong sense of commitment, and responsibility to police work and to the people we have sworn to serve and protect,” Alba said. (PNA)