THE implementation of the barangay drug-clearing program highly depends on the barangay officials’ support and cooperation to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in the communities.
This was cited by Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Padac) Action Officer Fernando Martinez, in view of Negro Oriental’s status as the most drug-affected in Central Visayas.
But Martinez said records on drug affectation in the province may not strictly reflect the situation on the ground as drug-related crimes logged are quite low compared to the previous years.
“The problem on illegal drugs may not actually be prominent in all localities,” said Martinez.
He said the drug-clearing program in the barangay is possible as long as there is cooperation among concerned agencies, particularly the barangays, to fast-track the required documentation.
Martinez urged the barangay officials, youth, and other concerned agencies to intensify their anti-illegal drug campaign.
Agent Elmer Ebona of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said that currently, most of the local government units (LGUs) have improved their anti-illegal drug efforts, as nine barangays have submitted the required documents due for deliberations for drug-cleared declaration.
The PDEA official hopes that the number of drug-affected barangays will reduce in the remaining months for this year.
In a Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting, the Padac reported that 3,469 "tokhang" drug surrenderers have completed their community-based rehabilitation and treatment program amid the Covid-19 pandemic in their respective barangays.
Under the community-based approach, the participants or persons who used drugs (PWUDs) will undergo six to nine months of rehabilitation program, after which they will receive livelihood assistance from the different government agencies.
The community-based treatment and rehabilitation program is part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s response to the ongoing drug abuse prevention program in the country.
This is guided by the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which mandates that “it is the State’s policy to provide effective mechanisms or measures to reintegrate into society individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dependence through sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation.” (PIA)