PDEA: NCR most drug-af­fected re­gion

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - METRO - By Jean­nette I. An­drade @jian­dradeINQ

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.

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