BAGUIO CITY – Some seventy-five barangays in the different parts of the Cordillera remain to be drug affected as per the assessment of the Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR), the lead government agency in charge of implementing the aggressive anti-drug campaign of the present administration.
PDEA-CAR regional director Edgar Apalla said that of the 75 drug affected barangays, 40 were reverted back to drug affected status as of March 2018, 28 have been reverted back to drug affected status due to the presence of narco-listed drug personalities in the barangay level while 7 were carried over from the drug affected barangays as of the end of 2017.
Of the 40 barangays which were reverted to drug affected status, Baguio City accounted for the biggest number of reverted barangays with 19 followed by Abra with 12, Kalinga – 6, and Benguet – 3 while there were no barangays in Apayao, Ifugao and Mountain Province that were reverted to drug affected status.
For the barangays that were reverted to drug affected status because of the presence of narco-listed drug personalities in the barangay level, Abra accounted for the most number of barangays with narco-listed drug personalities with 19 followed by Apayao with 5, Baguio city 2 and Ifugao and Kalinga had 1 barangay each while no barangays in Mountain Province and Benguet have been recorded to have narco-listed drug personalities.
Apalla reported to the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) that of the 1,176 barangays in the region, 359 have been classified as drug unaffected since the government started the aggressive anti-drug campaign in July 2016 right after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency.
On the other hand, the PDEA-CAR official claimed that there are 159 monitored drug personalities who were either target or watch listed operating within the different parts of the region.
He explained that there are 98 drug personalities in the region who were classified as watchlisted while there are 61 drug personalities who are considered to be target listed by police operatives and anti-narcotics agents.
Of the 98 watchlisted drug personalities, Baguio City accounted for the highest number of drug personalities with 28 followed by Benguet with 26, Abra – 25, Kalinga – 13, Mountain Province – 3, Apayao – 2 and Ifugao – 1.
Of the 61 target listed drug personalities, Baguio city still accounted for the most number of target listed drug personalities with 43 followed by Abra with 10, and Benguet with 8. While there are no targets listed drug personalities in Apayao, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga.
Apalla assured members of the two regional bodies that the PDEA, in coordination with the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as other law enforcement agencies, remain steadfast in the aggressive implementation of the government’s anti-drug campaign to clear the remaining areas in the region that are drug affected to help in contributing in efforts to reduce the proliferation of crimes related to drugs and achieve lasting peace in the countryside.
By Dexter A. See