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5 more towns in Caraga declared drug-free

Abellanosa : The drug-free towns earned their status following a tedious scrutiny and review. Contributed photo

Five more towns in Caraga Region have been declared drug-free after records showed their villages have been cleared of drug users and pushers.

The five latest additions, according to documents shown to the Caraga News Courier, were the municipalities of Veruela, Sta. Josefa, Loreto, and Rosario of the province of Agusan del Sur, and the town of Loreto, province of Dinagat Islands.

Dindo Abellanosa, spokesperson for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Caraga, said this means the municipalities no longer have drug-affected barangays or villages. As recognition, they were issued certificates signed by Aileen Lovitos, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Caraga  Region office, on Sept. 7.

“These areas have been declared drug-cleared and drug-free after undergoing barangay drug-clearing operations provided for under Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, series of 2017,” Abellanosa said.

Report showed that at the start of the government’s intensified drug campaign after President Duterte assumed office, at least 1227 villages out of the region’s 1,311 villages were affected by problems spawned by illegal drugs.

According to Abellanosa, after a tedious scrutiny and review, a total of 791 barangays out of 1,311 or sixty percent (60%) of the total number of barangays in Caraga region are now enjoying a “drug-cleared” status.

A “drug-cleared” status means that authorities have verified and confirmed the non-availability of narcotics supplies in the barangay, absence of drug pushers and users, a drug laboratory, warehouse or drug den on top of the active involvement of barangay officials to combat illegal drugs.

In layman’s terms, this means that no drugs are being used, delivered or sold in and from the villages.

But Abellanosa clarified  the “drug-cleared” barangays will still be strictly monitored by all stakeholders of the barangay drug-clearing program, especially by their respective Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC), in order to ensure sustainability of their “drug-cleared” status. They will also undergo quarterly validation as provided for under paragraph 3, Section 10 of DDB Reg. No. 3, series of 2017.

The Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing Program (ROC-BDCP) is also authorized to revoke all drug-cleared certifications through an official notice in case a barangay fails to maintain all the requirements for a drug-cleared barangay, he said. By CLC


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