July 16, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

Of the 1,178 barangays of the Cordillera, around 352 barangays or 29.9 percent of the total barangays were declared drug-free by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

From January to June 14, a total of 797 barangays were declared drug-cleared while 18 remain drug-affected and 171 have maintained their drug-cleared status.

Only 10 barangays are not affected by illegal drugs in the Cordillera.

Abra has 79 drug-free barangays out of its 303 barangays while Apayao has 29 of its 133 barangays.

Baguio City has four drug-free out of 129 barangays; Benguet has 28 out of its 140 barangays; Ifugao with 94 of its176 barangays; Kalinga with 39 of its 153; and Mountain Province with 79 of its 144 barangays.  

Abra has 12 remaining drug-affected barangays and seven unaffected barangays; Apayao has one drug-affected barangay and two unaffected barangays; Kalinga has five drug-affected barangays while Baguio City has one unaffected barangay.

 As for the drug-cleared barangays, Abra has 205, Apayao has 101, Baguio City has 124, Benguet has 112, Ifugao has 82, Kalinga has 109, and Mountain Province has 65.

 Benguet Police Provincial Office Information Officer Maj. Edwin Sergio reported from January to June 2024, close to 200 anti-illegal drug operations were conducted by the office, where it arrested 29 drug personalities and confiscated P226 million worth of illegal drugs.

 Sergio said Benguet PPO also conducted Oplan Riverside against illegal drugs where 200 personnel were deployed in various marijuana planting sites in the province. 

“Once a barangay is declared as drug-free, there are some parameters or requirements before we revert into drug-affected barangays. Although there are marijuana plants being eradicated, walang declared na re-affectation of drug-free barangays by PDEA,” Sergio said.