THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on July 7 during the Provincial Peace and Order Council special meeting that 359 out of 557 barangays in Negros Oriental are affected with illegal drugs.

But PDEA Agent Francisfil Tangeres said 145 barangays have been declared cleared, while 53 are free from illegal drugs in the province.

Tangeres presented the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) updates per district with drug affectation, with a total of 218 barangays in the First District of which 72.47 percent are drug affected, 27 cleared, and 33 drug-free barangays.

The Second District has 174 barangays of which 64.36 percent are drug affected, 49 cleared, and 13 declared drug-free barangays.

For the Third District, of 165 barangays, 53.39 percent are drug-affected, while 69 are declared cleared, and seven are drug-free.

The PDEA official said the geographical location of the province is a transit point and one of the crucial drop-off points of illegal drugs coming from Cebu, Negros Occidental, Manila, and Mindanao, of which drug personalities is taking advantage.

The improvised mode of concealment during transportation of contrabands has also been observed.

Intensified checking and monitoring in all sea and airports with law enforcement units and the community may hamper the flow of drug supply in the province.

Tangeres said the implementation of the BDCP helped in the reduction of barangay drug affectation in the province, while the establishment of Balay Silangan also proved the commitment of the stakeholders in the fight against illegal drugs.

The municipalities of Basay and Pamplona have set up their Balay Silangan facility, a temporary shelter for drug surrenderers to be rehabilitated and reformed into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of the community.

Sixteen drug surrenderers in Basay successfully completed their community rehabilitation program on February 18, while 25 personalities who used drugs (PWUDs) before in Pamplona town and 23 PWUDs in Bayawan City are still undergoing rehabilitation or treatment sessions. (PIA)