Villages need to meet standards before given ‘drug-cleared’ tag

MANILA - - There are a lot of parameters to consider before a barangay (village) is declared as clear of illegal drugs, the chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said after Metro Manila was named as one of the regions most affected by illegal drugs.

Metro Manila is a densely populated, highly urbanized, and highly commercialized community. The parameters have to be taken into consideration seriously so that (the) barangays (that) have been previously declared as drug-cleared will not revert to a drug-affected barangay merely because of the presence of one drug user or one drug pusher, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when sought for a comment on Wednesday.

These parameters include the non-availability of drug supply; the absence of drug transit/trans-shipment activities, clandestine drug laboratories, clandestine drug warehouses, clandestine chemical warehouses, marijuana cultivation sites, drug dens, dive or resort, drug pusher, drug user/dependent, protector/coddler and financier; the active involvement of officials of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) in anti-drug activities and in helping maintain the liberated status of the barangay; the existence of drug awareness, preventive education and information, and other related programs; and the existence of a voluntary and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desk.

Eleazar said out of a total of 1,709 barangays in the country's capital region, 225 barangays, or 13.17 percent, have so far been declared as drug-cleared.

He, however, said the NCRPO has significantly focused on barangay drug-clearing operations in barangay clusters.

This concept divides each community (in)to smaller households composed of 50 to 100 families and headed by a dedicated cluster leader chosen among them to specifically identify illegal drug personalities or illegal drug facilities. Our Drug Clearing Program is as good as our watch list. Without a reliable watch list, our operations will just be put to naught and illegal drug operations will continue to prosper, Eleazar said.

With the concept of clustering the barangays, the NCRPO has been gaining ground in identifying these illegal drug personalities and illegal drug facilities with the help of the community and the cluster leaders, he added.

Eleazar said the NCR has been named as the most drug-affected regions due to the absence of a clear-cut policy, prior to the start of the Duterte administration.

He said that since the region-wide implementation of the clustering program, all illegal drug personalities have been identified, with some names mere aliases and others fictitious while some were really negative.

The NCRPO chief added that depressed areas and the presence of informal settlers in the NCR have contributed to the illegal drugs problem.

This, he said, is why NCRPO has intensified its campaign on Simultaneous Anti-Criminality Law Enforcement Operations (SACLEO), Oplan Galugad, and Oplan Sita on identified lairs of illegal drug personalities and criminals.

Meanwhile, Eleazar said a total of 50 barangays are scheduled to be declared as drug-cleared by the end of June by the TWG Committee spearheaded by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

He pledged that the five police districts of the NCRPO � the Quezon City Police District, Southern Police District, Northern Police District, Eastern Police District, and Manila Police District will continue to intensify the crackdown against drug personalities in compliance with the rule of law and the protection of human rights.

Metro Manila's top cop also urged the public to help and work hand in hand with the police, barangay leaders, local government unit and other officials, and the community in eradicating the illegal drug menace.

We are already improved and (have) significantly reduced, if not totally eliminate, illegal drugs during intensified police operations. But more work needs to be done and we need the whole nation to work together and fight this menace, Eleazar said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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