Nearly 50% of villages in Region 12 now ‘drug-cleared’

At least 569 barangays (villages) in Region 12 are now considered “cleared” from illegal drugs, police officials said on Thursday.

Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., public information officer of the Police Regional Office-12, said the concerned barangays have all passed the parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in line with the government’s enhanced barangay drug-clearing program.

He said the barangays that are so far considered “drug-cleared” is nearly half of the 1,195 barangays in the entire Region 12.

Of the remaining 626 barangays, the official said 18 were listed as “not affected” and the rest were “affected” by the illegal drug problem.

Also known as Soccsksargen, the region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“This is a continuing effort and we will not stop until all our barangays here in Region 12 are cleared from illegal drugs,” Galgo said.

Based on the DDB’s regulations, a barangay may be declared as “drug-cleared” through recommendations from the local police, local government unit and stakeholders.

Prior to the declaration, barangay anti-drug abuse councils or BADACs are required to conduct drug-clearing operations within their areas of responsibility and later undergo inspection by police personnel.

The city or town’s chief of police should then issue a certification attesting the status of the barangay while the concerned barangay council should pass a resolution declaring their area as drug-cleared.

These are then subjected to further evaluation by the program’s regional oversight committee.

In South Cotabato, deputy provincial police chief Supt. Joedelito Guisinga said 106 of the province’s 199 baragays are now considered “drug-cleared.”

He attributed such accomplishment to the collaborative efforts of the BADACs, municipal and city governments and local police units.

He assured that they have been implementing “honest to goodness” barangay drug clearing operations in the province in close coordination with local stakeholders.(PNA)