February 1, 2023

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Benguet reported only barangays Pico in La Trinidad and Abatan in Buguias remain drug-affected in the province.

The two barangays are classified as moderately affected based on the assessment of PDEA.

PDEA-Benguet Director Edwin Changrapen, during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting, said they are monitoring the two barangays for them to comply with the requirements in order to be cleared.  

He said the presence of drug personalities in these barangays affected their standing among the 140 barangays that were assessed and concerned authorities need to conduct intervention programs or operations for their arrests.

Changrapen said there are 11 barangays in the province that have no record of illegal drug operations or personalities in these areas.

These are Poblacion, Atok; Bobok-Bisal, Bokod; Anchokey, Adaoay, Batan, Duacan, Gusaran, Poblacion in Kabayan; Labueg, Kapangan; and Ambongdolan and Daclan in Tublay.

These barangays still need to apply for certification as drug-free areas, according to Changrapen. 

“Their documents are being completed for their application as a drug-free barangay as part of the function of their Anti-Drug Abuse Councils,” Changrapen said.

Before declaring that a barangay is free from illegal drug activities, the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program must convene and validate the non-availability of drug supply in the area and the absence of drug transit activity, clandestine drug laboratory and chemical warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den, and drug pusher and user.

The committee, chaired by PDEA, is composed of provincial representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, Department of Health, and local government units.

Part of the sustainability efforts of the ADACs is the continuous conduct of drug clearing operations in the barangays.

If there are resurgence of illegal drug activities in a barangay, it is given 60 days to conduct necessary interventions. If there are no actions, the barangay would then be categorized as drug-affected.

Barangays Badeo and Tacadang in Kibungan were cleared free of illegal drugs in 2021.

“What we need is the cooperation of the LGUs for the intervention program for the drug users and pushers.That’s what we need to clear and sustain each barangay of Benguet,” he said. – Ofelia C. Empian