2,855 Ilocos villages are ‘drug-free’

By Freddie Lazaro

  • RPOC chairperson Gov. Marcos commends PDEA

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has declared 2,855 barangays in Region 1 as “drug-cleared” during the recent meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) held in Sison Auditorium in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

The drug-cleared villages represented 98 percent of the 2,901 barangays infiltrated by illegal drugs according to the report.

With this accomplishment, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee R. Marcos, RPOC chairperson, lauded the PDEA and other law enforcement agencies for their efforts in mitigating the proliferation of illegal drugs in her capacity as regional chairman of the RPOC in Region 1.

Earlier, the PDEA reported that out of 3,265 barangays in the Region 1 2,901 were infiltrated by illegal drugs.

“With the initiatives of PDEA and their local counterparts, a total of 2,855 of these barangays are now “drug-cleared,” leaving only 46 barangays with the influence and use of illegal drugs,” Marcos said.

“Sana naman ay walang backsliding,” Marcos said. “Dapat continuous pa rin ang monitoring, pang-huhuli, at buy-bust operations. Sikapin natin na mapabilis ang drug-clearing, at tulungan natin ang PDEA.”

She urged other government agencies to accelerate their own anti-illegal drug efforts and encouraged local communities to help by reporting to authorities any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the different government agencies and law enforcement agencies and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, among others. Members of the private sector, the media, and nongovernment organizations were also present.

Marcos also emphasized the importance of road safety and clearing of trees to lower the risk of automobile accidents, saying that the PNP, local government units (LGUs), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should work together in the process.

It was also reported during the RPOC meeting that 75 veteran fighters from the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Visayas had already moved to Luzon.

On the insurgency and the resumption of peace talks led by President Duterte, she expressed, “We would like to integrate them into society; at the same time, the peace and order stakeholders are also wary about the safety of the community.” (Freddie Lazaro)