The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has declared 81 drug-free barangays in Northern Mindanao region as a result of their intensified anti-drug operation and drug clearing program as of June 29.
Agent Joerick S. Tacal cited during the monthly meeting of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) region 10 that the province of Misamis Occidental has the most number of drug-free barangays with 43; Misamis Oriental, 18; Camiguin, 12; and Bukidnon, 8. Lanao del Norte, however, has not declared a single barangay yet.
Based on the Dangerous Drug Board, before a certain barangay will be declared as drug-free, they must undergo assessment and validation with the chief of police and certified by the mayor, PDEA, the Department of Health and Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) before the issuance of certificate for drug-free.
These parameters include non-availability of drug supply; absence of drug transit/transshipment activity; absence of clandestine drug laboratory; absence of clandestine drug warehouse; absence of clandestine chemical warehouse; absence of marijuana cultivation site; absence of drug den, dive or resort; and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desk.
Also, absence of drug pusher; absence of drug user/dependent; absence of protector/coddler/financier; active involvement of barangay officials in anti-drug activities; active involvement of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) to help maintain the drug liberated status of the barangay; and existence of drug awareness, preventive education and information and other related programs.
The PDEA, Tacal said that among the general guidelines provided in the drug-clearing program are the mandatory creation of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs); the conduct of barangay drug-clearing operations which is divided into three phases, namely the Pre-Operation Phase, Operation Phase and Post-Operation Phase; the classification of barangays in determining the priority areas for clearing operations; the duties of local chief executives in the barangay drug-clearing program; and the penalty for non-compliance.
The BADACs were deputized and empowered to plan and implement strategic policies; and evaluate programs and projects on drug prevention and control, given the political and police powers of the barangay to administer the affairs of the community.
The conduct of sustaining clearing operations against drug-affected barangays in the initial phase include the activation of BADACs, capability enhancement of all stakeholders through seminars, preventive education and trainings, organization of house clusters to determine all essential facts of illegal drug activities happening in the neighborhood, submission of report containing watch-list of drug personalities, establishment of a rehabilitation referral desk in every barangay, among others.
The Operation Phase is the actual implementation of drug supply and demand reduction strategies in drug-affected areas. This is where PDEA and other support agencies come into play.
The Post-Operation Phase is aimed to maintain the ‘drug-cleared’ status of the barangays after drug-clearing operations through sustainable support projects such as sports, religious and social activities, implement sustainable livelihood projects as a reintegration program to former users and pushers, and continuing anti-drug awareness programs.
Tacal noted that the local chief executives are duty bound to ensure the organization of BADAC in all barangays within their territorial jurisdiction, allocation of substantial portion in the barangay budget and ensure compliance with the duties and responsibilities of the BADAC in the anti-drug campaign.
Meanwhile, PDEA in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other operating units made a total of 364 anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 which resulted to the seizure of drugs with an estimated value P18,875,111.91. (EOR/PIA10)