Drug-free villages

October 24, 2018

The key to achieving a drug-free nation is the barangay.

That is, the battle against illegal drugs must be won one barangay at a time.

This is because the barangay is the basic socio-political unit in the country.

Come to think of it, all other government campaigns and programs begin with the community or village.

And the success or failure of any barangay-wide campaign impacts on similar efforts in other villages.

But what is the current success scorecard?

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Tuesday reported that at least 8,766 out of the 42,044 barangays (villages) in the country have been declared drug-cleared as of September 30, 2018.

As of this posting, a total of 23,262 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs, but PDEA, together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), stressed that the government's campaign against illegal drugs is continuing.

During the RealNumbers PH press briefing, PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon said drug-cleared barangays are those categorized to have been "drug-affected" but were successfully subjected to the drug-clearing programs of the government.

These programs entail intervention on users, arrest of drug personalities, the removal of transshipment points and manufacturing facilities, and the existence of rehabilitation treatment centers in the barangay level.

But most importantly, there is an existing "post-operation programs" to ensure the drug-cleared status of an area after the pre-operation and operation phase of the campaign, Carreon said.

He also added that a total of P25.01 billion-worth of drugs and laboratory equipment were seized since September 2018, an increase of P891 million from the August 2018 data.

"For the same period, 3,271.52 kilos of shabu worth P18.27 billion were confiscated by PDEA, PNP, and other law enforcement agencies nationwide," he said.

Carreon said the sources of shabu are mainly smuggling and manufacturing -- at least 1,076.01 kilos of shabu were confiscated from smuggling and 410.07 kilos from manufacturing.

The PDEA official noted that most of the entry points of these illegal drugs were intercepted - from the coastlines, seaports, mail parcels, and airports.

At least 1.35 tons of dangerous drugs were in the custody of the PDEA in July 2016, and due to the intensive campaign against illegal narcotics, "the volume of confiscated dangerous drugs has dramatically increased," Carreon said.

Meanwhile, PNP deputy spokesperson Supt. Kimberly Molitas said 286 law enforcers were dismissed from the service due to drug use and 105 others for other drug-related offense.