Editorial: Cracking the whip on barangays

DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Martin Diño during his visit here where he attended the launching of the Bayan for Bong Go (B4BG) Movement on Monday, April 9, called on barangay chairmen to activate and ensure that their Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Badac) are operational lest they face administrative charges.

This, aside from barangay officials who are found involved in the illegal drugs trade who face stiffer penalties.

Dino said the DILG is already monitoring all barangays in the country.

"The barangay officials, as the forefronts, should prove their commitment to their respective communities and get rid of drugs by activating the Badac, otherwise we will file an administrative case against them," Diño said in an interview.

The Badac is mandated to plan, strategize, implement and evaluate programs and projects on drug abuse prevention in barangays and to organize and orient auxiliary teams on their roles and functions and in formulating plan of action.

It is also tasked to coordinate and collaborate with other institutions like the police and the municipal or city government in implementing program/project on drug abuse prevention in the barangay level, according to DILG, and refer suspected drug pushers and/or users to the city or municipal agencies and/or other institutions for counseling and/or rehabilitation. It is also tasked with spearheading the barangay level information and education campaign against illegal drugs.

This council is composed of the barangay chairperson as its head with the barangay council members each assigned specific committees.

Indeed, the barangay is at the forefront of the war against drugs and will forever be at the forefront. Unlike how oppositors would want to frame it, the drug war is a never-ending war.

The illegal drugs industry is a global and billions-worth industry, and the syndicates will not give up their turf just like that. Thus, the barangays, more than the President and the mayors are key. And, except where the mayors and the barangay officials are also complicit with the drug lords, it will take every one's cooperation to protect the people from these evil forces.

Especially in the settlement areas where illegal drugs also proliferate, literally hiding in plain view and able to go around through the sheer density of the population, the smallest government unit is key in heightening awareness as well as identifying who are into it.

Given that there are indeed officials who are also into the trade, a keen eye out for these people will be of big help in pushing this menace into the farthest corner of a sitio to keep the majority safe and away from its clutches.

An appeal for cooperation and constant reminder of their important role in drug abuse prevention by no less than the department that oversees all local governments will also be a big help in prodding the local politico who sometimes prefer to do politicking than do the dirty work of gathering, checking on and informing their people regularly.

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