The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Western Visayas is prioritizing Negros Occidental and Bacolod City in its drug clearing operations, its information officer, Shey Tanaleon, said today, December 16.
The PDEA declared 23 barangays in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City drug cleared today.
However, Negros Occidental is only 34.10 percent drug-cleared, while its capital city, Bacolod, is 16.39 percent cleared, Tanaelon said.
Bacolod and Negros Occidental are their “focal points” in the region since more barangays still need to be validated and most of the drug seizures in the region came from the city and the province, Tanaleon said.
The PDEA reported that Antique topped the provinces in the region with the most drug-free barangays at 99.66 percent followed by Aklan with 96.94 percent, Iloilo province with 93.14 percent, Guimaras with 82.65 percent, Capiz with 70.61 percent, and Iloilo City with 47.77 percent
Tanaleon said that Bacolod and Negros Occidental came in last since the implementation of the community-based rehabilitation program had been a challenge.
Drug surrenderers were not able to pursue the rehabilitation program after facilities closed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the surrenderers needed to find work, she said.
She also said there are still sightings of drug personalities in these localities.
PDEA cleared an additional 23 barangays from Bacolod and Negros Occidental during the 23rd Regional Oversight Committee Deliberation held in Talisay City today, December 16, which was attended by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.
Tanaleon said they deliberated on a total of 29 barangays from the city and the province, with 23 qualified to be drug-free barangays.
These are barangays 11 and 25 in Bacolod City; Bagacay, Cabungahan, Cambayobo and Winaswasan in Calatrava; Tomina and Tambad in Cauayan; Bago, Bagong Silang, and Pinowayan of Don Salvador Benedicto; Canlusong of EB Magalona; Cabcab of Isabela; Cabagna-an and Sag-ang of La Castellana;
Barangays 1-B, 2, 2-A in Manapla, Nataban in San Carlos City, Gil Montilla in Sipalay City, Katilingban in Talisay City, Lacaron in Valladolid, and 15 in Victorias City.
Tanaleon said that among the parameters to consider a village drug cleared are that it has no supply of drugs, no transshipment of drugs, absence of users and pushers, no marijuana plantation, drug laboratory and den, and it has a referral desk for treatment and rehabilitation of those who will surrender to authorities.
She said that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the drug trade due to the setting up of checkpoints, but pushers still find a way to continue their illegal activities.*