MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has declared eight villages and Balungao town in Pangasinan province as drug-cleared.
In a virtual forum organized by the Philippine Information Agency in Dagupan on Friday, PDEA Pangasinan investigation agent Francisco Lomas-e said eight barangays in San Fabian, Bani, Asingan and Infanta towns and Dagupan and San Carlos cities, as well as the town of Balungao were declared drug-cleared last December.
Out of the 1,364 barangays in the province, Lomas-e said there are now 1,089 drug-cleared barangays while 183 are still pending and the rest are drug-unaffected.
“We are now left with 15 drug-affected municipalities and three cities out of the 44 towns and four cities in the province with one unaffected town,” he added.
Lomas-e attributed the pending declaration of some of the local government units to the absence of their Balay Silangan, a reformation facility.
He said only the towns of Asingan, Balungao, Basista, Sison, Umingan, San Fabian and San Carlos City have the reformation facility.
“We are now focusing on rehabilitation and reformation as pronounced by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Most of the remaining surrenderees are drug-pushers and they need rehabilitation that could be conducted in the Balay Silangan centers,” he said.
Surrenderers in the Balay Silangan undergo general interventions like continuing education, health awareness, and psychological, spiritual and physical activities such as counseling, moral recovery, values formation, and personal and life skills, he added.
However, due to a lack of funds or enough space for a Balay Silangan, the PDEA Pangasinan and the provincial government are eyeing to set up a provincial Balay Silangan in Burgos town.
“If this materialized, the local government units that have no centers could avail of its services. However, this is still a plan and has no definite date yet,” he said.
PDEA Pangasinan has seized PHP2.7 billion worth of shabu and a variety of marijuana during their operations from January to Nov. 15 last year.
They have confiscated 360 kilos and 774 grams of shabu valued at PHP2.45 billion and have arrested 34 high-value targets and conducted four high-impact operations, including the arrest of four individuals --one of them a Chinese national, in a buy-bust in Pozorrubio town in August 2022. (PNA)