The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Caraga (PDEA 13) declared Agusan del Norte as the fourth drug-free province in the region.
Dindo Abellanosa, spokesperson of PDEA-Caraga, said the province met the requirements for the validation and declaration of its drug-free status by the anti-narcotics agency, meaning all of the province’s 10 towns, lone city and 167 villages have been cleared of drug users and pushers.
The declaration was made during the 17th Barangay Drug-Clearing Program Caraga Regional Oversight Committee (BDCP ROC-Caraga) meeting on Friday, November 8, Abellanosa said.
“It was made following submission of proper documentary requirements and after a tedious scrutiny and review,” he said.
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.
Agusan del Norte is the fourth province in Caraga region declared as “drug cleared” after the provinces of Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur, which received the same declaration earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Abellanosa reiterated the “drug-cleared” provinces and 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, he said, is also authorized to revoke all drug-cleared certifications through an official notice in case a province fails to maintain all the requirements for a drug-cleared province.
The committee members are from the PDEA 13, Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13), local government units, and regional offices of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Health (DOH). By CLC