3 barangays in Legazpi no longer in drug list

By Wyslly S. Ala LEGAZPI CITY --- Three barangays in this city have been declared “drug-cleared” by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Ric Fontanilla, head of Legazpi City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC), said the oversight committee, which is headed by PDEA, officially declared barangays Baybay, Cruzada, and Bigaa as drug-cleared last June 25. The three had been in the list of 16 barangays tagged by PDEA as seriously affected barangays. DDB Regulation 2 defines “drug-cleared barangays” as “previously drug-affected and subjected to drug-clearing operations, and declared free from any illegal drug activities” under the parameters set out by DDB Regulation 2-2007. According to Fontanilla, the drug clearing procedure took a long time as it underwent several stages that spanned from the barangay up to the regional level. He added that the oversight committee, composed of the provincial directors of Department of Health, Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and PDEA, was too strict that a single mistake caused them to repeat the process all over again. The committee report was validated by Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara before it was elevated to the regional level committee. As of this writing, Albay is in the process again of compiling the requirements for the clearing validation of the remaining villages in the city before the end of July and by August, according to Fontanilla. “We are now in the process of submitting the documents. Hopefully, we can pass it before the month of July and we can come up with additional drug cleared barangays by the end of August,” he said. Meanwhile, the Legazpi city government has been in full swing with its Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Program. Mayor Noel Rosal said he hoped to finish it by the end of August. Last July 11, the program produced its 8th batch of graduates composed of 256 former drug users. Fontanilla said that they were the latest graduates of the program, raising the number of graduates to 1256. Legazpi City also offers them jobs as part of the program.