81 ‘drug-free’ brys. unverified: Capitol exec

FOR a barangay to be called “drug-free,” it must pass the scrutiny of a committee and the approval of the governor, a Capitol official said yesterday.

The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) unilaterally declared 81 barangays in Cebu to be drug-free when it should have sent the list or report first to Capitol, Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) chief Ivy Durano Meca said.

Meca said the CPPO’s report about the “drug-free barangays” can only be considered a recommendation. Only the governor can declare them to be drug-free, she said.

But so far, CPPO has not sent the governor a report about this.

What the CPPO has done is publicly announced that 81 barangays were now drug-free, catching Capitol unaware, Meca said.

She said her office CPADAO has not received a copy of the report. CPADAO would use the report to evaluate the state of drug presence in each of the barangay named.

She said when some of the barangays that had been declared “drug-free” were in Camotes Island, and their being “cleared” was highly doubtful.

Meca said that as far as CPADAO knew, many of the barangays in Camotes Island declared by CPPO to be drug-free still host drug dealers.

“Everyone of us wants a drug-free Cebu, but it has to be on a tarong nga pamaagi (using right methods),” Meca said.

She said that in a meeting with the CPPO, CPADAO and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-7), Gov. Hilario Davide III had recommended that before a barangay is declared drug-free, a “three-man committee” must be convened.

When she heard the news report about the “81 drug-free barangays,” she went to see Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director PCSupt. Noli Taliño about the status of the 81 barangays.

“Ang kadtong 81 ka barangay wala gyud moabot sa ilahang lamisa,” Meca said.

The CPPO’s list of drug-free barangays needs to be validated, she said. There should also be a debriefing conducted on post-drug scenarios lest the public misconstrue the police’s “drug-free” declaration.

She said she has no personal issues with CPPO Director, Sr. Supt. Eric Noble, but she wants a clear process for declaring a barangay drug-free.

Also, Capitol wants the process laid out in by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to be observed, she said.

She doesn’t want the police to be cutting corders to meet the expectations of their superiors, she said. Dwight Devora, USJR Intern
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