BOKOD, Benguet – Some three hundred fifty nine barangays in the different parts of the region have never been affected by the proliferation of illegal drugs based on a report from the Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR).
PDEA-CAR regional director Edgar Afalla claimed that of the region’s 1,175 barangays, 359 have been drug unaffected, 40 barangays have been reverted to drug affected status, 28 barangays were also reverted to drug affected status due to the presence of narco-listed drug pushers in the barangay level while there are 75 barangays that remain to be drug affected to date.
He explained the rest of the region’s barangays that were not included in the aforesaid classifications have already been considered to be drug cleared since the Duterte administration launched an aggressive anti-drug campaign over two years ago.
Of the drug unaffected barangays, Afalla reported that 93 barangays are in Ifugao, 86 barangays are in Abra, 79 barangays are in Mountain Province, 38 barangays are in Kalinga, 31 barangays are in Apayyao, 28 barangays are in Benguet and only 4 barangays are based in Baguio City.
On the other hand, of the 40 barangays that were reverted to drug affected status, 19 barangays are in Baguio City, 12 barangays are located in Abra, 6 barangays in Kalinga are still subject to validation, 3 barangays are in Benguet while there were no barangays in Mountain Province, Ifugao and Apayao that were reverted back to drug affected status.
Afalla disclosed that relative to the 28 barangays that were reverted back to drug affected status due to the presence of narco-listed drug personalities in the barangay level, 19 barangays are in Abra, 5 barangays are in Apayao, 2 barangays are in Baguio City, 1 barangay each are based in Ifugao and Kalinga while there were no barangays in Mountain Province that were monitored to have narco-listed drug personalities.
According to him, there are 31 barangays in Abra, 27 barangays in Baguio City, 7 barangays in Kalinga, 5 barangays each in Benguet and Apayao, 1 barangay in Ifugao which remain to be drug affected while there are no barangays in Mountain Province that have been classified to be drug affected.
Relative to a recent statement from PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino on the narco-list involving barangay officials wherein the Cordillera placed second on the most number of involved personalities, Afalla explained that all cleared barangays with personalities included in the narco-list will be reverted back as affected barangay as per recommendation of higher authorities as per Section 14 of Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3, series of 2017.
Afalla revealed that of the 5 drug groups that have been identified to be operating in the region, 3 active drug groups are based in Baguio city, 2 active drug groups are pursuing their illegal trade in Abra while there are no drug groups that were monitored in Benguet, Apayao, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga.
He claimed that the resurgence of illegal drug activities in some municipalities and barangays that were previously cleared need the unified and holistic approach by concerned government agencies in monitoring drug pushers and users, especially drug surrenderers and transient pushers who have taken advantage of the situation. By HENT