At least 67 cities and towns in Eastern Visayas are in danger of losing their drug-cleared status after the reported resurgence of illegal drugs trade in some villages, the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Thursday.
PDEA Eastern Visayas Regional Director Emerson Rosales said illegal drug operations are allegedly back in some villages in these 67 cities and towns despite the formal declaration of its drug-cleared status.
This year, we will focus on revisiting villages declared earlier as drug-free. We can measure the success of drug war if the area is declared as drug-free and if their status has been sustained, Rosales told reporters.
Up for review by PDEA are 23 towns in Leyte, 11 in Northern Samar, 10 in Samar, eight in Biliran, seven in Southern Leyte, five in Eastern Samar, and three cities in the region. The PDEA regional chief declined to name specific towns and cities.
The status of these areas will be subject to regional oversight committee review. If the resurgence of illegal drugs is proven, they will be categorized back as drug-affected.
The committee is composed of PDEA as the chair, with personnel from the Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, and the concerned local government unit.
The major factor to be considered in reverting back the status of this already declared drug-cleared areas is the presence and operations of illegal drug traders.
Meanwhile, PDEA is stepping up its watch in roll-on roll-off ports especially in Northern Samar and Tacloban City where they have already deployed their inter-agency seaport intervention units.
The move is all part of their relentless effort in combating the proliferation of illegal drugs in the region, Rosales.
Source: Philippines News Agency