BACOLOD CITY – Some 246 villages in Negros Occidental have been declared drug-cleared, based on the assessment of the multi-agency Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) on Dangerous Drugs.
The latest added to the list are 13 barangays, which were issued certification after the 25th ROC Deliberation chaired by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Western Visayas (PDEA-6) regional director Edgar Apalla held in this city on Monday.
Nicolas Gomez, provincial officer of PDEA-Negros Occidental, told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday the province’s total number includes the 233 villages drug-cleared as of Feb. 17.
Villages declared cleared from drugs as of March 22 are Dulao, Napoles, Balingasag, and Tabunan in Bago City; Mabini in Cadiz City; Barangay 5 in Sipalay City; Barangay Zone 2 in Talisay City; Gatuslao and Caningay in Candoni; Calubang and Poblacion II in Ilog; San Agustin in Isabela; and Quiwi in Hinigaran.
The total number of drug-cleared barangays represents 41 percent of the 601 villages in Negros Occidental.
During the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Summit 2021 held in January, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he hopes for 70-percent drug-cleared barangays in the province.
Gomez said that PDEA is doing its best to implement drug-clearing operations in support of the governor’s aim to have more villages cleared from drugs.
“It’s possible, but of course, it should be quality over quantity,” he added.
In the course of the deliberation of the ROC, which also included members from the Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Health, the representatives from the barangays assisted by their local government units defended their applications and presented their requirement folders.
This is essential in compliance with the parameters of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program mandated by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation 3, series of 2017 for the ROC members to conduct the actual evaluation of each barangay applicant.
“PDEA-6 will continue to closely collaborate with the concerned counterparts to increase the number of barangays to be cleared through proper implementation of DDB Regulation 3 and the Omnibus Procedures in Declaring a Drug Affected Barangay as Drug Cleared,” the agency said in a statement. (PNA)