PDEA creates group to oversee drug-clearing program in villages

PDEA creates group to oversee drug-clearing program in villages

PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva. (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday said it has created a working group to closely monitor the nationwide implementation of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) designed to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in communities.

In a statement, PDEA Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva said the creation of PDEA BDCP Working Group for Monitoring and Validation (PB-WMV) is in response to the marching order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the agency to conduct regular and periodic assessment of the program to clear barangays of illegal drugs by 2022.

Based on infographics posted on the #RealNumbersPH Facebook page, at least 18,582 out of the 42,045 barangays (villages) in the country have been declared drug-cleared as of March 31.

Meanwhile, a total of 15,388 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs.

Villanueva said in order to accelerate efforts against the proliferation of illegal drugs in drug-affected barangays, the government adopted an integrated approach by enlisting the assistance of local government units (LGUs) in drug-clearing operations pursuant to Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3, series of 2017, otherwise known as “Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program”.

A brainchild of Villanueva long before the DDB adopted and made it as a Board Regulation, the BDCP is the main framework of the agency’s anti-drug strategy that embodies a holistic and whole-of-nation approach in addressing the country’s drug problem.

“The BDCP defines the roles and responsibilities of PDEA and other government agencies in support of the attainment of drug-free communities,” Villanueva said.

Aside from monitoring the implementation of the program, the PB-WMV shall have the following functions and responsibilities: validates barangays with drug-cleared status after issuance of certification; gathers analysis and provision of data related to drug-clearing of barangays; empowerment of implementers through seminars/training; preparation of audit, monthly and periodic reports, among others.

“Once the PB-WMV becomes fully operational, the correctness of data on drug-cleared barangays and watch-listed drug personalities will be achieved. The working group will speed up the process for a faster, better, and more effective execution of the BDCP,” Villanueva said.

Since the BDCP involves the participation of duty bearers and various stakeholders of the national anti-drug campaign, the program is also aligned with the PDEA’s three-pronged approach to suppress illegal drugs: Supply Reduction; Demand Reduction; and Harm Reduction.

Under the program, law enforcement agencies take care of supply reduction efforts to disrupt the manufacture and distribution of dangerous drugs, while government agencies and LGUs focus on demand and harm reduction strategies to prevent people from taking and wanting illegal drugs, and reform drug offenders to become productive citizens of society.

“Priority was given to the full implementation of the BDCP as soon as I assumed the PDEA leadership. Barely two years on the timetable to accomplish the commitment of the President to eliminate illegal drugs in every barangay, we will do our best to make it happen,” Villanueva said. (PNA)

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