MANILA — Close to half of the country’s barangays nationwide are still considered to be drug-affected, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) revealed over the weekend.
PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said that at present, out of 42,036 barangays in the country, 49.65 percent are considered drug-affected which translates to a total of 20,872 barangays.
The consolidated data was gathered from operational reports of PDEA Operating Units and other law enforcement agencies.
“Out of these barangays, 66.7 percent or 13,920 are classified as slightly affected, 32.3 percent or 6,744 barangays are moderately affected, while the remaining one percent or 208 barangays are seriously affected”, Lapeña explained.
A barangay is said to be drug-affected when there is a reported presence of drug user, pusher, manufacturer, marijuana cultivator or other drug personality, drug den, marijuana plantation, clandestine drug laboratory, and facilities related to production of illegal drugs.
There are three classifications in determining barangay drug-affectation: slightly affected, moderately affected, and seriously affected.
Barangays are considered slightly affected if there is a reported presence of drug user/s; moderately affected if there is a reported presence of drug pusher/s and/or user/s; and seriously affected if there is a reported presence of any of the following: clandestine drug laboratory, warehouse, marijuana plantation and drug den/tiangge, drug trafficking or smuggling activities, and drug personalities (i.e. users, pushers, financiers, protectors, cultivators, manufacturers and others).
The National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest rate of barangay drug-affectation with 96.48 percent, followed by Region XIII at 86.58 percent and Region IX at 86.29 percent. The region least affected by the drug menace is the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) at 3.49 percent.
Earlier, PDEA said that a total of 4,801 barangays were declared cleared from illegal drugs from July 2016 to June 2017.
These barangays have reached drug-cleared status after issuance of a certification by members of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.
The Oversight Committee, which is chaired by PDEA, is composed of provincial representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH) and local government units.
“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,” Lapeña noted.
The declaration is pursuant to the parameters set forth by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) as provided in Section 8, DDB Board Regulation No. 3 Series of 2017, otherwise known as “Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program”.
On June 2, 2017, Batanes has earned the distinction of being the country’s first province proclaimed drug-free.
“The Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) composed of 39 member-agencies aims to clear 5,272 barangays before the year ends. If we can sustain the pace, ridding the country’s drug problem in the next four years is very much doable,” the PDEA chief said.