By Jennifer P. Rendon
Less than half of the 263 barangays that applied for drug clearing declaration hurdled the Regional Oversight Committee deliberations on Feb. 27, 2020.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-6) said that 111 barangays, or 42.20 percent of the applicants, were declared drug-cleared during the 19th ROC deliberation held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
PDEA sits as the chairman of the ROC with members from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Health (DOH), and the local government unit.
Iloilo province has the most number of cleared areas with 38 out of 49 applicant-barangays; Negros Occidental, 36 out of 46 applicants; Bacolod City, 2 out of 14 applicants; Guimaras, 3 of 7 applicants; Aklan, 8 out of 12 applicants; Antique, 2 out of 7 applicants; Capiz, 6 out of 9 applicants; and Iloilo City, 16 out of 199 applicants.
PDEA-6 regional director Alex Tablate again stressed the importance of maintaining and sustaining the drug-cleared status of the barangays.
He also pointed out the need for municipalities and cities to establish their Balay Silangan facilities.
Balay Silangan is a facility under the national drug reformation program which offers temporary refuge with the objective of reforming drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.
The groundwork for Balay Silangan is stipulated under the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation Number 2, Series of 2018.
The local government unit (LGU) has to build a Balay Silangan facility but Tablate clarified that there’s no need for a new structure.
Further, Tablate has also emphasized the importance and role of the LGUs in the successful deliberation of their barangays.
He also highlighted the efforts of the PNP, DOH, and DILG in the initial onsite validation process.