The number of Caraga villages still plagued by the drug menace has gone down to 857, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Caraga (PDEA-13).
The agency’s records showed 370 barangays had been declared “drug-cleared,” the latest of which were 116 in Surigao del Sur province, 57 in Agusan del Sur and 14 in Surigao del Norte.
Dindo Abellanosa, PDEA information officer in Caraga, said the drug-free barangays earned their status following a tedious scrutiny and review.
Under parameters set out by Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulations, he said an area can be considered drug-free in the absence of the following: drug supply or drug transit/transshipment activities; drug laboratories and warehouses, chemical warehouses; marijuana cultivation sites; drug dens; users and pushers; and drug protectors, coddlers, and financiers.
He said the multisectoral campaign against illegal drugs helped in bringing down the number of drug-influenced villages.
“Our drive against illegal drugs through advocacy and awareness, law enforcement, rehabilitation, and empowerment with the support of local governments and the public helped in bringing down the number of drug-affected barangays,” Abellanosa said.
There are 1,311 villages in the region.
Only 84 or 6.41 percent of the region’s barangays were unaffected by the illegal drugs, he added.By GD