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Friday, April 12, 2024

Guv pushes for more aggressive drive vs illegal drugs

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Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is pushing for a more aggressive drive against illegal drugs in the province after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency revealed that 222 of 601 barangays in Negros Occidental, 36.94%, have been declared drug-cleared.

Lacson, who attended the anti-drug summit at the Negros Residences in Bacolod City, noted that this is “very low” compared to the 90% of Iloilo barangays declared drug-free.

The governor said he hopes that the outcome and resolutions during the anti-drug summit will lead to a drug-free Negros Occidental, made possible by the collective knowledge, expertise, dedication, commitment, and firm resolve of the participants.

PDEA also reported that 12 of the 61 barangays of Bacolod City were also cleared of the drug menace.

PDEA-6 Assistant Regional Director Donelyn Hemedez blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the low number of drug-cleared barangays in Negros Occidental.

She also noted that despite the pandemic many barangays are asking for evaluation.

Hemedez said that PDEA agents stationed in Negros Occidental were prohibited from entering barangays particularly those on total lockdown, because of the threats of the pandemic, while 10 of their personnel also got infected while performing their tasks.

Hemedez said they visited eight towns and cities in Negros Occidental to discuss parameters with barangay officials on how to be included in the list of drug-cleared barangays.

She also said PDEA already increased the number of its agents to help in the barangay drug-clearing operations, and she said she expects that more personnel are coming to Negros as soon as they finish their training.

While he is not inclined to believe that barangay officials did nothing about the anti-drug campaign during the pandemic, Lacson said he is looking forward to promising steps to improve the standing of Negros Occidental in the clearing of at least 70% of the province’s barangays, or until everyone is cleared of the menace.(Dolly Yasa via tdg, photo by tdg)

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