PDEA-12 fast-tracks assessment of 161 drug-affected villages

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has fast-tracked the assessment of the remaining 161 barangays in the region that have not yet been declared as drug-cleared.

Katryn Gaye Abad, PDEA-12 spokesperson, on Monday said they are working with the barangays and other stakeholders to facilitate clearing of the concerned areas from illegal drug activities by next year.

She said some 974 of the region’s 1,158 barangays have been so far declared as drug-cleared by the regional oversight committee on barangay drug-clearing program.

“There are still pending applications from the remaining barangays and the committee is continuously assessing these,” she said in an interview.

The committee, co-chaired by PDEA and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, includes the Department of Health and Philippine National Police.

Some 81 more barangays in the region were confirmed by the oversight committee as of the end of October as drug-cleared and drug-free, while others retained their status.

A report released by PDEA-12 said 71 barangays sustained their drug-cleared classification, four drug-unaffected were vetted and confirmed as drug-free, and six drug-affected were declared as drug-cleared.

Abad said the continuing assessment is based on the standing guidelines set by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

The parameters for the assessment are the “non-availability of drug supply; absence of drug-dependent, pusher, user, absence of clandestine drug laboratory; active involvement of barangay officials in anti-drug activities; the existence of drug awareness, preventive education and information programs; and the existence of voluntary and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desks.”

Barangays are also required to ensure the drug surrenderers in their areas properly complete the process or graduate from the community-based rehabilitation program.

She said the DDB has directed all barangays, including those considered as unaffected, to undergo periodic assessment and submit the requirements.

“This part of the whole of government approach to end the drug menace in our communities,” she said.

Abad said they are also helping strengthen the local anti-drug abuse councils to sustain the campaign at the local level. (PNA)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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