PDEA urges voters: Reject ‘narco-candidates’ in village polls

MANILA -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) urged the public not to vote for candidates who are involved in illegal drugs in this year's Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Reject those barangay candidates who are involved in illegal drug activities. They do not deserve the people's votes, PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said in a statement Sunday.

Aquino said that it is very likely that drug money may seep into the electoral process of barangay elections due to the influence of drug syndicates.

Obviously, they (drug syndicates) will only support local candidates who will give them protection in return, the PDEA chied noted.

Incumbent barangay officials, or prospective bets who are linked to drugs, may continue to lord it over the polls. We do not want that to happen. Our destiny lies in our own hands. We are appealing to the public to wisely choose our next community leaders, he added.

There are 289 barangay officials (143 barangay chairmen and 146 barangay kagawads ) on the narco-list of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The number is expected to increase once the validated list of barangay officials engaged in drug trade who are included in the PDEA National Drug Information System (NDIS), sets in, Aquino said.

PDEA is urging barangays to activate their respective Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs), and be cooperative and pro-active in the anti-illegal drug campaign, he added.

Aquino said that in the absence of a functioning BADACs, there is a high probability that these barangays have officials who are involved in the illegal drug trade, or their barangays are havens of illegal drug activities

PDEA reiterates its call for these non-compliant barangays not only activate but also strengthen their BADACs. The battle against illegal drugs at the community and street levels definitely starts in barangays. BADACS are important in maintaining a pro-active stand in shielding the people from the drug menace, the PDEA chief added.

An oversight body on the barangay drug-clearing program was created to ensure the regularity and the accuracy of the program.

It is composed of local representatives from the PDEA, DILG, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH), and LGUs.

There are defined roles and responsibilities set for each member of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program, as well as the parameters prior the declaration of a Drug-Cleared Barangay, pursuant to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Regulation No.3, Series of 2017, on Strengthening the Implementation of Barangay Drug Clearing Program.

The sustainability and unified effort of the agencies concerned will lead to the realization of our goal for Drug-Free Philippines by 2022, Aquino said.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 10246, the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be on May 14.

The filing of certificates of candidacy is from April 14 to 20 while the campaign period is from May 4 to May 12. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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