PDEA: NCR most drug-affected region
Metro Manila remains the most drug-affected region with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) able to clear only 23 percent of drug-affected barangays nationwide a year after the government declared an all-out war on the illegal narcotics trade.
According to PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña, around half or 20,872 of the 42,036 barangays in the country are considered drug-affected.
“Out of these barangays, 66.7 percent or 13,920 are classified as slightly affected, 32.3 percent or 6,744 barangays are moderately affected, while the remaining 1 percent or 208 barangays are seriously affected,” Lapeña said.
A barangay is considered drug-affected when there is a reported presence in the area of drug users, pushers, marijuana cultivators or other drug per- sonalities, drug dens, marijuana plantations, clandestine drug laboratories, and facilities related to the manufacture of illegal drugs.
Citing PDEA data, Lapeña said that the National Capital Region has the highest rate of drug affectation at 96.48 percent, followed by the Caraga region with 86.6 percent and Western Mindanao at 86.29 percent.
The region least affected is the Cordillera Administrative region with only 3.49 percent of its barangays affected by the illegal drug trade.
Only 23% are drug-free
The PDEA chief said that from July 1, 2016 to June this year, 4,801 barangays have been declared drug-free. This accounts for 23 percent of drugaffected barangays nationwide.
Lapeña added that these barangays were issued certifications by the oversight committee on the barangay drugclearing program headed by the PDEA.
The committee has provincial representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, and the Department of Health, including local government units as members.
“Before declaring that a barangay is free from illegal drug activities, the committee must convene and validate the nonavailability of drug supply in the area and the absence of drug transit activity, clandestine drug laboratory and chemical warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den, drug pusher and user,” he explained, adding that Batanes is the first and only province to be proclaimed drug-free. It earned this distinction on June 2.
According to Lapeña, PDEA and the government’s InterAgency Council on Anti-Illegal Drugs are targeting the clearing of 5,272 barangays before the end of the year.