9 I. N. towns, 518 brgys now “drug-free”

The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting last March 14 confirmed the declaration of nine towns and 518 barangays in Ilocos Norte as “drug-free,” as per evaluation of the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) and the Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC).

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Agent Lanibelle C. Ancheta reported that the Municipalities of Adams, Banna, Burgos, Currimao, Dumalneg, Piddig and Vintar are now certified “drug-free.” Mayors from each town have also received their certifications of this status.

The figure was at 84.75% or 436 barangays last December, and currently 320 barangays have been officially validated by the PDEA – Regional Oversight Committee (ROC). The other 198 are now awaiting endorsement and subsequent validation.

According to Ancheta, the supply and demand of drugs in the province are decreasing due to effective rehabilitation and reformation programs for surrendered drug users.

“The decrease in the number of arrested persons and seizure of illegal-drugs during anti-drug operations indicates a non-availability or low supply of drugs in the province,” she explained.

Ancheta also reassures that PDEA will remain relentless in their initiatives, saying, “We in PDEA will continuously bring the anti-drug campaign to the grassroots. Law enforcers will continue to be more vigilant and sustain our strengthened efforts to suppress and prevent the entry of illegal drugs into the province.”

The province’s community-based rehabilitation program (CBRP) is also thriving, regularly conducting anti-illegal drug lectures, symposia, and dialogues among the youth, barangay health workers, school heads, barangay authorities, and other community stakeholders.

Governor Imee R. Marcos has since commended the MADAC, PADAC, PDEA-ROC, and the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office (INPPO) for this achievement, thanking them for ensuring safer communities and eliminating these barriers to provincial development.

“Talaga namang nag-iimprove ang status ng ating anti-illegal drug campaigns. Sana rin, ma-validate na ng PDEA -ROC yung ibang barangays so that we can finally declare all 518 barangays and the entire province as 100% “drug-free.

“Aasahan natin na tuloy-tuloy ito, and that we will maintain and improve our standings, para balang araw, wala nang masisirang buhay at pamilya dahil sa mga ipinagbabawal na droga,” said Governor Marcos. (pgin-cmo)