Espino urges declared drug-free towns to stay vigilant


LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – “Let us remain vigilant. Let us take active participation whenever there are those who threaten the peace and security of Laoac and that of Pangasinan.”

This was stated by Governor Amado “Pogi” I. Espino III in his speech which was read by Executive Assistant IV Ramon M. Morden during the re-declaration of drug-free municipality a week ago at the Farmers Training Center in Laoac town.

It can be recalled that Laoac town has been declared by no-less than Philippine National Police Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as a “drug-free” municipality during the early months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s intense war against illegal drugs. Several months after the declaration, case of illegal drugs once again cropped up in the said town.

Expressing his desire to eliminate the social menace, the provincial chief executive, in his message, urged Pangasinenses to further seek ways that could strengthen collective efforts until the province will be declared and re-declared as drug free haven.

Based on the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office report, out of the 1,364 barangays in the province about 1,269 were considered as affected areas. Due to serious intention of eradicating the illegal trade, however, a total of 1,095 barangays in Pangasinan have been cleared of any illegal drugs activity as of May 30 to June 2017.

These figures, according to governor, relevantly show that Pangasinan is winning the battle. Yet, he added, the fight against the social menace is still far from over.

On the part of the provincial government, various programs and projects were launched since the term of the former governor now 5th district representative Amado T. Espino, Jr. who co-authored the Comprehensive Drugs Act in 2002 during his first term as lawmaker.

Inspired by his father’s example, Gov. Pogi continued the fight thus implemented a mandatory random drug testing for provincial employees during his early months of tenure in 2016.

Aside from this, the provincial government also partnered with PDEA for the conduct of an Anti-Illegal Drug Summit in November last year.

Another milestone project is the current construction of a Provincial Drug Rehabilitation center which is situated on a 2-hectare lot in San Vicente, Burgos. The rehab center will be equipped with complete amenities like a mess hall, kitchen, and bathhouse among others.

If operation kicks off, the rehab center will house self-confessed drug users or surrenderers and will undergo training and rehabilitation to be conducted by authorized trained personnel.

Highlights during the re-declaration program include the presentation of local government unit community based rehabilitation programs by Rev. Mamerto B. Camante, President of Laoac United Evangelical Ministers Fellowship; testimonial message; reading of board resolution by municipal Vice Mayor Rolando Ramos and the declaration of drug free municipality by PDEA Regional Director Jeoffrey C. Tacio.

Signing and attestation of a drug free municipality as well as awarding of drug free marker to the municipality of Laoac headed by Mayor Silverio D. Alarcio, Jr. was also held.

PNP Provincial Director Ronald Oliver Lee and DILG Provincial Director Agnes De Leon also attended the event.

By Dexter A. See