Barangay officials were warned anew by the regional Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-7) that they will face administrative charges if they fail to clear their areas of drug users and pushers.
The warning came amid Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III’s admission that clearing the barangays of drugs is a “tall order” that can only be achieved through total community cooperation.
“It’s in the Local Government Code. It was stated in the provision that the barangay officials concerned will be held liable,” said PDEA-7 director Yogi Filemon Ruiz.
Barely a week after 120 barangays in the province were declared drug-free, Ruiz said there were still nine barangays that had illegal drug users based on random drug tests conducted in their areas.
Ruiz said those barangays are given one month to enforce drug intervention measures or else the officials will be slapped with administrative charges.
He said these measures include house visits to drug suspects, weekly meetings and drug tests.
Senior Supt. Eric Noble, Cebu provincial police chief, admitted that nine barangays in the province are still plagued with illegal drug activities and they have an oversight committee that will address this concern.
“If the barangays fail to meet the one-month deadline, the committee will convene and take back their certificate stating that they were cleared of drugs,” Noble said.
The committee is chaired by Ruiz with Regional Director Rene Burdeos of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as vice chairman.
The committee also includes officials of the Police Regional Office, Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CDAPAO) and the regional Department of Health (DOH-7).
Noble called on barangay officials to be vigilant in monitoring and cracking down on illegal drug activities in their respective jurisdictions.
In Barangay Langtad, Naga City, five men and a minor were arrested for possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia at 6:45 a.m. last Tuesday.
The suspects were identified as Renato Baclay alias “Lalay Villarin”, Prince Rollo, Ricardo Segismar, Avilino Villarin Jr., John Rey Baclay and a minor. Taken from their possession were five sachets of shabu and paraphernalia.
In San Remigio town, police arrested a man and a woman for possession of illegal drugs at a checkpoint in Barangay Poblacion at 10:15 p.m. last Tuesday.
Taken from the possession of Jomerey Retuya and Jackie Lou Fernan were 13 plastic sachets containing shabu and four pieces of aluminum foil.
Governor Davide said stakeholders should be proactive in the war against illegal drugs./Reporter Nestle Semilla with CNU Intern Sheen Michael Manigo and Correspondent Izobelle Pulgo