897 of 1,311 Caraga villages certified drug-free

PDEA noted a total of 897 villages, or 68.42 percent, of 1,311 villages in the region were cleared of drugs from June 2016 — when the government intensified its war against the illegal trade — until April 2019. Courier file photo

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Caraga region (PDEA-13) reported that 897 out of the 1,311 barangays in the region were “drug-free.”

Dindo Abellanosa, spokesperson of PDEA-13, said the Dangerous Drugs Board ‘s (DDB) regional oversight committee had certified that the campaign against illegal drugs had succeeded in 897 villages, or 68.42 percent, of 1,311 villages in the region from  June 2016 —when the government intensified its war against the illegal trade—until April 2019.

Authorities have yet to clear another 330 villages from illegal drug use, he said.

PDEA-13  made the declaration after the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) of the Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) chaired by PDEA regional director Aileen Lovitos officially declared last Wednesday the 53 barangays in Surigao del Norte province as newly drug-cleared villages.

Cleared villages in Surigao del Norte include14 barangays in the town of Claver, 8 in Bacuag, 4 in Gigaquit, 21 in Surigao City, and 6 in Sison.

Abellanosa said the drug-free barangays earned their status after thorough assessment and recommendations given by the BDCP Surigao del Norte Provincial Oversight Committee.

“The said barangays were declared drug free after thorough evaluation and validation,” Abellanosa said.

With the recent declaration, all barangays in the towns of Bacuag, Gigaquit, and Claver are now considered cleared of illegal drugs, he said.

But according to Abellanosa, the regional oversight committee would evaluate and assess the villages every three months to know if there is a resurgence of drug personalities.

If further assessment reveals the reappearance of drug personalities and the resumption of the drug trade, the villages will again be categorized as drug-affected, he said. By CLC

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