DUMAGUETE CITY – A total of 198 barangays in Negros Oriental have been declared as drug-free or drug-cleared, an official of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) on Friday said.
Provincial police director Col. Germano Mallari said of the number, 145 villages were cleared and 53 were certified unaffected or drug-free.
The campaign against illegal drugs is one of the priority programs of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte since he was elected into office in 2016, Mallari said.
He said starting in 2017, authorities attained 35.54 percent or 198 of the 557 barangays declared drug-cleared or drug-free by the Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) on the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP).
The ROC-BDCP is composed of the regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as chairman, and his/her counterpart of the Philippine National Police, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Health in Region 7 as members.
“We will continue aggressively with our anti-illegal drug operations, together with PDEA and the other line agencies, to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in the other barangays that are still beset with the problem,” Mallari said in mixed English and Cebuano.
The drug-cleared barangays are in Bais City (22); Sta. Catalina (20); Bayawan City (16); Dauin (13); Mabinay (11); Pamplona (10); Vallehermoso (nine); Canlaon City and Tayasan (eight each); Valencia and Basay (seven each); San Jose (five); Zamboanguita (four); Bacong (two); Bindoy, La Libertad, and Dumaguete City (one each), records at NOPPO showed.
For the drug-free barangays, they are in Bindoy and Manjuyod (eight each); Jimalalud (six); Ayungon and Tayasan (five); Bais City (four); Dumaguete City (three); Basay, Pamplona, Sta. Catalina, and Tanjay City (two each); Bayawan City, Dauin, La Libertad, Mabinay, Siaton, and Sibulan (one each).
Lt. Col. Ruben Verbo Jr., NOPPO spokesperson, said the declaration of the statuses of these barangays was based on the latest validation by the ROC-BDCP this month.
A drug-free barangay means there is no existing drug pusher or drug user in the community, while a drug-cleared barangay refers to a village that once had existing drug pushers/users but was already cleared of the same, Verbo said.
Some of the anti-illegal drug programs of NOPPO include Oplan Banat and Oplan Tokhang, and the Community Based Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment at the local government level in coordination with various stakeholders, Mallari said. Philippine News Agency