BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Mountain Province is now cleared of illegal drugs following intensive campaign against the drugs menace and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and local officials are set to formally declare the province as drug- free.

Mt. Province Provincial Police Office director Senior Superintendent Tellio Ngis-o said he has coordinated with local chief executives in the province to officially declare the 144 barangays of the ten towns as drug-free on February 14.

Ngis-os said as of December 13, 2016, the 144 barangays of the province complied with the 16 parameters set by the Dangerous Drug Board for declaring a barangay as drug-free, adding that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency subsequently validated the drug-cleared barangays.

Since the start of the PNP’s Double Barrel Project or the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign in July last year, the local police was able to account a total of 459 drug personalities in the province with 441 surrendered to the police, 17 arrested and one killed.

Of the 459 drug suspects, 46 are pushers and 413 are users of either marijuana or shabu.

Residents of two barangays where marijuana eradication operations were conducted manifested support against marijuana cultivation by signing an oath of commitment.

Ngis-o said even with the declaration of the province as drug-free province, the local police in coordination with local officials will intensify information campaign against illegal drugs.

“We have to continue containing and monitoring our drug personalities to prevent them from returning to their drug vices,” he said.

Ngis-o is recommending for the creation of Municipal Drug Action Centers to focus on the rehabilitation of the drug victims and to continue educating the local populace on the ill-effects of illegal drugs.

Last month, some 55 drug surrendeers in the municipality of Bauko graduated from a three-month rehabilitation session given by Master Del Pe (MDP) of the MDP Foundation and Clean Life Program. The graduates, who vowed not to go back to illegal drug use, showed zero negative drug tests after their rehab sessions.

Ngis-o attributed the success of the illegal drug campaign to the support of the local officials, non-government organization and other stakeholders in the province. (Andrew Doga-ong/PIA–CAR)