MANDAUE City is almost 50 percent drug cleared, with nine out of 27 villages now free from illegal drugs, an official said Monday, May 23, 2022.

Councilor Nerissa Soon-Ruiz told reporters during the City Council’s regular session on Monday that the city aims to attain a 100 percent “drug cleared” status by September or not later than December 2022.

Under Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) regulations, the drug-cleared status is given when an area classified as previously drug affected was subjected to drug clearing operations and declared free from any illegal drug activities pursuant to the parameters set forth by the DDB.

The regulation defines a drug-affected barangay as having a “reported presence of drug user, pusher, manufacturer, marijuana cultivator, or other drug personality, drug den, marijuana plantation, clandestine drug laboratory, and facilities related to production of illegal drugs.”

More villages

Soon-Ruiz said 18 more villages in Mandaue are set to be cleared from illegal drugs, stressing that Barangay Basak is the latest village added to the city’s list of drug-cleared barangays.

Basak joined Casili, Paknaan, Tabok, Opao, Bakilid, Tawason, Tingub and Subangdaku when it was declared drug cleared last Friday, May 20.

Soon-Ruiz also said five villages are about to attain a “drug-cleared” status by June this year, but added she could not disclose more information about this yet.

She said searching and convincing the drug personalities to surrender is difficult, as some of them are doubtful about the government’s rehabilitation plans for them.

“Some of the surrenderers do not believe that the government would return them into the right path of not using drugs once captured,” she said.

Soon-Ruiz said based on what she heard from their surrenderers, they believed that the government really has no plans for them, and authorities are contented to just put them in rehabilitation centers.

She said the Mandaue City Government is hoping that barangays that were already cleared from illegal drugs will be able to sustain their rehabilitation programs so the aftercare for the surrenderers will follow.

The aftercare will include releasing the surrenderers back to the community and providing them opportunities to be employed, go to school, and establish their own business, with the government giving them capital to invest.

Aside from Barangay Basak in Mandaue, six other barangays and three municipalities in Cebu also achieved their drug-cleared status last May 20.

These villages include Baod, Kapingganon and Botigues in Bantayan; Kabalaasnan and Pawa in Dumanjug; and Polog in Consolacion; while the municipalities are Madridejos, Santander and San Francisco.