BACOLOD CITY—The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a warning to barangay officials who fail to reduce drug-related incidents in their respective jurisdictions will be charged with negligence of duty.
“If a certain barangay official was not able to reduce by lower than 50 percent the number of drug personalities in his area by June, we will file charges of negligence of duty against the barangay officials,” DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno said in an interview on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the 15th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials Responsible for Information (SOMRI) held Wednesday at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City.
Sueno said the department is working with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) in identifying barangays that are seriously affected by illegal drugs due to larger presence of personalities involved such as users, pushers and financiers as well as the prevalence of drug dens in the area.
A DILG memorandum has reiterated the importance of the barangay’s anti-drug abuse councils (BADAC) led by the barangay chairman on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and in drug clearing operations.
Under the DILG memorandum, failure of local officials to appropriate a portion of their budgets to assist or enhance Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 is a ground for disapproval of a barangay’s annual budget. Administrative charges for dereliction of duty will be filed against violators.
The department has also organized the MASA Masid (Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Iligal na Droga ) teams in various barangays nationwide.
MASA MASID is a barangay-based and volunteerism-based program of the DILG that adopts a multi-sectoral and mass-based approach in reporting incidences of illegal drug activities, criminality and corruption in communities.
Meanwhile, the PDEA has also set new standards for the classification of drug-affected barangays in the country.
A reported presence of at least one clandestine drug laboratory or marijuana plantation in the community will merit a classification of a seriously affected barangay.
Barangays will also be classified as seriously affected if more than 20 percent of its total population are drug personalities (users, pushers, financiers) and there is a reported presence of three or more drug dens or “tiangges” (flea markets).
Moderately affected barangays have two to 20 percent of its total population as drug personalities.
Those that have reported drug personalities that are less than two percent of the population will be classified as slightly affected.
According to the PDEA, 20 percent of the barangays nationwide are drug-affected at present. The National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest rate of affectation with 92.10 percent of the region’s barangays affected, followed by Region 4A (Calabarzon) at 33.78 percent.