AS THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA 7) welcomed the decision of President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. to continue the anti-drug campaign of former President Rodrigo Duterte, the anti-narcotics agency said it is now focusing on how to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs in the region.

But Leia Alcantara, information officer of PDEA 7, said they have to double their efforts in order to achieve their goal.

Alcantara said the agency is already on the way to achieving its target as they noticed based on their study that the supply of illegal drugs has slowly reduced due to their intensified anti-illegal drug operations, while the demand for drugs has lessened as some individuals have already stopped using the so-called shabu through a complete withdrawal.

Alcantara said 95 percent of individuals who underwent community-based drug rehabilitation program spearheaded by the different local government units in the Central Visayas have completely recovered.

“Actually, nalipay kaayo mi kay na re-affirmed ang atoang intensified campaign against illegal drugs with the pronouncement of our president, President Ferdinand Marcos, also focusing on the demand reduction side or the rehabilitation side. The instruction sa PDEA sa law enforcement unit is to continue on the supply reduction, but also mas ipa intensify nato ang rehabilitation,” Alcantara said.

The PDEA believes that nobody would sell the illegal drugs if nobody would patronize it.

“Importante kaayo nato nga masabtan nga kining demand reduction, the clients, the users are really key addressing them, giving them the opportunity to change nga mag bag-o sila. That is really crucial to the success to our campaign against illegal drugs,” said Alcantara.

But Alcantara admitted that they lack facilities for the drug rehabilitation program, as there are many drug dependents who need intervention based on the data from the police, local government units, Department of the Interior and Local Government and PDEA.

Alcantara said they have 14 facilities offering drug rehabilitation program for drug dependents.

But she said they are planning to further develop or improve it to meet the demands of the Marcos administration.

According to PDEA 7 data since July 11, 2022, out of 3,003 barangays in the region, they have declared 1,329 barangays or 51 percent of the total barangays in Central Visayas drug cleared.

Another 116 barangays were declared drug free and 213 others unaffected by illegal drugs.

Most of these barangays are located in the mountain and are not populous.

Meanwhile, there are also five municipalities that were declared drug cleared.

These are the Enrique Villanueva town in Siquijor, Poro and San Francisco on Camotes Island, Madridejos on Bantayan Island, northern Cebu, and Santander in southern Cebu. (AYB, TPT)