PNP: 5 Cordillera region provinces drug-free
BAGUIO CITY – Five provinces in the Cordillera region were simultaneously declared drug-free, leaving only Benguet province and this city as drug-affected communities regionwide.
Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, deputy regional director for operations of the Police Regional Office-Cordillera said the five provinces which were consecutively declared “drug-free” are Ifugao province on February 10, followed by Kalinga on February 12, Apayao on February 13 and Mt Province on February 14.
Abra was the first to be declared drug-free last January 26.
The ceremony declaring the provinces drug-free was led by Chief Supt. Elmo Sarona, regional director and his directorial staff, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government officials of the five provinces.
Casimiro explained that there is a process before an area is declared drug-free.
“Before declaring a province drug-cleared, in collaboration with PDEA, BADAC, PADAC, LGUs and concerned members of the community initiated various programs, projects, activities and intensified its illegal drug operations within their respective barangays in support to the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the national government. This hard work resulted in the influx of drug surrenderees and drug personalities,” he said.
The said provinces complied with the 14 parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board such as the absence of drug supply, drug laboratory, clandestine drug warehouse, clandestine chemical warehouse; marijuana cultivation site; drug den, pusher, user, protector and financier.
Casimiro explained that in Baguio City, there are still 13 barangays out of the 128 and 3 barangays in Benguet which have not been cleared yet by the city police director in provincial police director.
He said that Baguio and Benguet were given a December 31, 2016 deadline which was again extended to January 30, 2017 to further intensify its anti-illegal drugs initiatives.
The officer said that with President Duterte’s suspension of the Oplan Double Barrel, the PDEA is left with the responsibility of pursuing the goal for Baguio and Benguet.