NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson expressed concern over a low number of drug-cleared barangays in the province.
The situation has prompted the governor to call for a Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Summit l.
Based on data shared by Donelyn Hemedez, assistant regional director for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Western Visayas, of the 601 barangays in the province, only 222 are drug-cleared or equivalent to 36.94 percent.
Lacson said the 36.94-percent rating of the province is low compared to Iloilo province, which has a rating of over 90 percent.
"We know that we still have a long way to go," Lacson said.
Hemedez said the low number of drug-cleared barangays in the province may be caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
She said it has been a challenge for PDEA agents to travel between Iloilo and Bacolod due to the pandemic.
The entry of PDEA agents in the province was also further hampered by some barangays who have refused entry due to Covid-19 cases.
The PDEA assistant regional director added they are planning to assign more agents in the province to further assist in the local drug clearing efforts.