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PRESS RELEASE: #101/2020  

DATE:  July 28, 2020

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has started a countdown to clear the remaining 15,388 drug-affected barangays by June 2022.

PDEA Director General Wilkins M Villanueva said that these barangays represent 36.6 percent of 42,045 barangays in the country that are still plagued by illegal drugs.

“There are 702 days to go before the deadline on ending the country’s drug problem as committed by the President to the Filipino people. PDEA’s self-imposed countdown creates a higher sense of urgency, no matter how difficult the challenge is,” Villanueva said.

 Posters with countdown days were seen hanging inside offices in the PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City, Regional Offices and Provincial and District Offices nationwide, to serve as a visual reminder on what needs to get done.

To accomplish the task, the PDEA Barangay Drug Clearing Program Working Group for Monitoring and Validation (PB-WMV) was created to fast-track the implementation of drug-clearing operations in the communities. This will accelerate efforts to prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs in the barangays.

The Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) encompasses a holistic and whole-of-nation approach in addressing the drug problem by enlisting the participation of local government units (LGUs), government agencies, and various stakeholders of the national anti-drug campaign.

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                                                       18,582 barangays cleared from drugs

A total of 18,582 barangays have been declared cleared from illegal drugs from July 1, 2016, to May 31, 2020.

These barangays have reached drug-cleared status after issuance of a certification by members of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.

The Oversight Committee, which is chaired by PDEA, is composed of provincial representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH) and LGUs.

Before declaring that a barangay is free from illegal drug activities, the committee 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, drug pusher, and user.

“Once cleared, we monitor newly-declared drug-free barangays to avoid a resurgence of illegal drug trade in these localities,” Villanueva said.

“PDEA has the power to create its own success.  We can achieve greatness by accomplishing the goal despite the odds, made matters worse by the pandemic. The countdown should serve as a motivation to get the job done in time, and a reminder to strive to be better with each passing day,” the PDEA chief said.

According to Villanueva, although it is a challenge in the face of the pandemic situation, concerned agencies and LGUs should continue their programs in ensuring the treatment of drug users either in residential and community-based rehabilitation centers, while offering interventions for surrendering drug pushers. After treatment, reformers will undergo the social rehabilitation phase. This will provide them employment opportunities and regain their dignity and place in our society.

“Whatever the surrounding circumstances, we should reduce demand. No market for illegal drugs means no drug trade can prosper,” Villanueva noted.

 PDEA also launched Isumbong Mo Kay Wilkins!”, a Facebook page where the citizenry is encouraged to report illegal drug activities happening in their neighborhood through its 24/7 call and text hotlines.

“Isumbong Mo Kay Wilkins!” also offers fast, secure, and affordable means to receive information from concerned individuals. Supplied information may lead to the conduct of high-impact anti-drug operations and the arrest of high-value targeted drug personalities.

Recently, PDEA and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) renewed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to strengthen their partnership in preventing drug smuggling in seaports and airports.

 Villanueva said the agreement should effectively address the trafficking or the possible entry of drug contrabands through shipment, and mail and parcel, in the country, including the importation of Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals (CPECs) used in the manufacture of dangerous drugs.

“International drug trafficking organizations are shipping tons of illegal drugs, either the finished product or raw materials, into the country. We need to intensify efforts in intercepting these drug shipments before they reach the streets,” Villanueva added.

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