Friday, January 20, 2017

Bicol police reports 'clearing' 80% of drug-affected villages in region of illegal drug problem
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 19 (PNA) -- A top official of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) said that 80 percent of the total number of barangays deemed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as drug affected in the region have been declared “cleared of the problem of proliferation of illegal drugs” during the past six months and two weeks since the government launched its war against illegal drugs.

Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PRO5 director, said data from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 18 this year showed that 466 of the 580 barangays have been “cleared” of the illegal drug problem.

PDEA records showed that there were 580 barangays or 16.7 percent of the total 3,471 barangays in the region which it deemed to be drug-affected when the campaign started.

“The remaining 20 percent or 114 barangays of the total drug-affected barangays are still under the PNP’S clearing operation,” said Buenafe.

Sr. Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said they declared all of these barangays as "cleared" instead of "drug free" because only the PDEA has the authority to declare it as drug-free.

Among the six provinces and seven cities in the Bicol region, Camarines Norte and Naga City in Camarines Sur were able to record a hundred percent number of cleared barangays.

In Camarines Norte, 81 of 81 drug-affected barangays were declared "cleared" as with Naga City, where 15 of 15 drug-affected barangays were declared “cleared.”

In Sorsogon, the percentage of cleared barangays is 98 percent or 98 of 99 drug-affected barangays; Masbate-93 percent or 62 of 66 barangays; Camarines Sur-85.9 percent or 141 of 164 barangays; Catanduanes-73.6 percent or 36 of 81 barangays; and Albay-31.3 percent or 33 of 106 barangays.

Calubaquib said PRO5’s Double Barrel Alpha campaign from July 1, 2016 to January 16, 2017 recorded 86,141 drug surrenderees (80,222 users; 5,919 pushers) in the Bicol region.

She said Project Tokhang was able to knock on the doors of 1,166,872 houses, arrested 900 drug personalities while 83 drug suspects were killed in police operations in the region.

In November and December last year, anti-narcotics lawmen were able to confiscate multi-million pesos worth of illegal drugs in the region.

These were in Barangay Palta Small in Virac, Catanduanes, where 359.7 kilograms of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) were seized, while in Barangay Sogod, Tiwi, Albay, authorities were able to recover 18 bricks of high-grade cocaine weighing 12.17 kgs off the sea waters of Sogod. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD