50% of Central Luzon drug-free
BALER, Aurora — A total of 1,532 barangays in Central Luzon have been cleared of illegal drugs as of Feb. 28, 2020 as declared by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The figure represents 49.1 percent or almost half of the total 3,102 villages in the region.
PDEA Regional Director Lyndon Aspacio said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that these barangays have reached a drug-cleared status after receiving a certification from members of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.
The Oversight Committee, chaired by PDEA, is composed of provincial representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH), and local government units (LGUs).
PDEA record showed that the provinces of Aurora with 151 barangays, and Bataan with 237 barangays, were the first in Central Luzon to be declared as drug-cleared.
“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,” Aspacio said.
He added that there are three basic parameters in determining a barangay’s drug-affectation, namely “slightly affected, moderately affected, and seriously affected”.
Nueva Ecija, which has the most number of barangays at 849, has 404 drug-cleared under the categories of slightly affected–164; moderately–206; seriously–0; and unaffected–34.
Bulacan has 569 barangays of which 118 were drug-cleared under the category of slightly affected–47; moderately–65; seriously–1; and unaffected–5.
Tarlac, with 511 barangays, already has 185 drug-cleared under the categories of slightly affected–100; moderately–56; seriously–0; and unaffected–29.
Pampanga which has 505 barangays recorded has 310 drug-cleared villages categorized as slightly affected–129; moderately–135; seriously–0; and unaffected–46.
Zambales, with 230 barangays, has 112 drug-cleared under the categories of slightly affected–52; moderately–45; seriously–0; and unaffected–15.
Angeles City which has 33 barangays, has so far three drug-cleared villages under the category of slightly affected–1; moderately–2; seriously–0; and unaffected–3.
Olongapo City, with its 17 barangays, also has three drug-cleared as declared by PDEA under the category of slightly affected–1; moderately–2, with zero seriously and unaffected village.
Aspacio said that PDEA-3 agents are exerting their fullest efforts to sustain the pace of clearing the remaining 1,579 barangays of illegal drugs.
To accelerate efforts against the proliferation of illegal drugs in drug-affected barangays, the government has adopted an integrated approach in securing the assistance of the local government units in drug-clearing operations pursuant to Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3 Series of 2017, otherwise known as “Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program”, which includes the activation of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) in the communities.
PDEA, as the lead agency against illegal drugs, adopted a three-pronged strategy in the national anti-drug campaign: supply reduction, demand reduction, and harm reduction.
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