16 Cebu barangays say they are drug-free — CPPO chief
About five months since the administration launched its relentless campaign against illegal drugs, 16 out of 1,066 barangays in the province of Cebu have declared themselves as “drug-free.”
These villages are all located in three municipalities on the southern part of Cebu: Alcoy, Boljoon and Santander, said Senior Supt. Eric Noble, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), who validated the report.
The areas earned their status based on the standards set by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in accordance to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation 2, which provides the guidelines for the drug-clearing operations in the barangays.
“The best Christmas gift authorities can give to Cebu is to make the barangays drug-free,” he said during the Talakayan sa Isyung Police (Tsip) forum at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas’ (PRO-7) Media Center yesterday.
Noble said the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) will verify the claims of the 16 barangays and will make the formal declaration on whether or not the localities are free from the influence of illegal drugs.
In Cebu, at least 60 of 1,066 barangays have been considered “drug-unaffected” areas. It means they have never been plagued or beset by any illegal drug activities.
The rest are deemed “drug-affected barangays” until 16 villages recently claimed to be “drug-free.”
According to the DDB regulations, an area can be considered drug-clear in the absence of the following: drug supply or drug transit/transshipment activities; drug laboratories and warehouses, chemical warehouses; marijuana cultivation sites; drug dens; users and pushers; and drug protectors, coddlers and financiers.
A drug-cleared barangay must also have barangay officers who are active in various anti-illegal drug activities such as a drug awareness and preventive campaign.
It should also have a voluntary and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desk.
Those who declared themselves as drug-free are Barangays Pasol, Pugalo, Poblacion and San Agustin in Alcoy town; Arbor, Baclayan, South Granada, Lower Becerril, Luntop, San Antonio and Nangka in Boljoon town; and Candamyang, Liptong, Lo-oc and Pasil in Santander town.
To be declared drug-free, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of PRO-7, said all the users and pushers in a barangay must be all accounted for.
He said drug personalities should have either surrendered, arrested or neutralized in legitimate police operations.
“There should be zero illegal drug operations and personalities in a barangay who wants to be declared drug-free,” Taliño said.
He, however, reminded policemen not to feel the pressure of arresting at least five drug suspects everyday just to satisfy PRO-7.
“You just cannot arrest anybody without basis because you are violating the rights of that person,” Taliño said.
Noble said the anti-illegal drugs campaign in the 16 barangays which declared themselves as “drug-free” nonetheless continues.
He said policemen will be assigned to the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Badac) to help in the monitoring.
In case the illegal drug operations will recur in the 16 barangays which declared themselves as drug-free, Noble said the local officials, including the mayors of the towns where the villages are located, will be asked to explain.
The CPPO, however, could not yet provide the specific figures on the number of arrest, surrenderers and drug suspects neutralized in police operations in the 16 barangays.
Taliño said all regional police offices in the country are mandated to reduce the drug problem in their respective areas by 70 percent by January.
So far in Central Visayas, PRO-7 already reduced the drug problem by 80 percent.
But Taliño was not satisfied yet.
“My target is to really eliminate illegal drugs in the region. I want 100 percent,” he said.
He directed city and provincial directors to relieve police stations chiefs who are not performing well in their anti-illegal drugs campaign.
“As of now, we already feel the impact due to our campaign against drugs. Crimes like robbery, theft, and rape in the region have decreased by 28 percent,” he said.
Taliño said there will be no letup in the campaign against illegal drugs.
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