87.11% of WV

brgys. drug-free

Western Visayas is 87.11 percent cleared of illegal drugs, based on the report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office.

PDEA spokesperson Shey Tanaleon said 16 new barangays were declared cleared of drugs while 38 others retained a similar status during the latest deliberation of the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing.

The regional body is composed of the PDEA as chair and representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Health (DOH) as members.

The latest cleared barangays increased to 3, 529 out of 4,051 villages in the region.

“Western Visayas as of this date is already 87.11 percent cleared from (sic) drugs. If we were able to clear this 87 percent, then we are more than enthusiastic that we can clear all of them although there are challenges when conducting drug-clearing operations,” Tanaleon said in a phone interview.

The newly-cleared barangays were Parian in the municipality of Sigma, Capiz; Balanti-an and Kinalkalan in Balasan, and Purok 1, Qui-anan and Siwaragan from San Joaquin all in Iloilo.

Also cleared were Barangays Caliling and Isio from the municipality of Cauayan; Castellano, Lemery, and Telim from Calatrava, Madalag in EB Magalona, Culipapa in Hinobaan, 5 Poblacion and Riverside from Isabela, and Barangay Damsite from Murcia, all in Negros Occidental.

To date, all 327 barangays of Aklan have been cleared of drugs; 99.32 percent of Antique’s 590 villages; 97.50 percent of Iloilo province’s 1,721 barangays; 95.91 percent of Guimaras’s 98 barangays; 89.21 percent of the 473 villages in Capiz and 53.57 percent of the 601 barangays of Negros Occidental.

Meanwhile, 48.88 percent of Iloilo City’s 180 barangays are cleared and 21.31 percent of Bacolod City’s 61 barangays.

“The drug-clearing operations in highly urbanized cities pose greater challenge unlike in the provinces. It is worth noting that usually the transactions for illegal drugs are consummated in city areas even if our personalities are from the provinces or even not from Western Visayas,” Tanaleon said.

She said to fast-track their drug-clearing operation, they are now focusing on surrenderers who need to undergo community-based rehabilitation and reformation program.

The closure of rehabilitation facilities due to the health pandemic also was a challenge.

The drug personalities, however, have submitted their certificates of undertaking to undergo rehabilitation once the facilities are ready and the manpower from local government units are available.

“Our focus is now on personalities. Instead of always conducting operations, we focus on the reintegration of personalities back to the society. It doesn’t mean that when you are involved in drugs, there is no longer hope for change,” Tanaleon said. (PNA)