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Law enforcement agencies call for unity vs illegal drugs

By Keren Anne Bernadas

NAGA CITY --- Key officers from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office (CSPPO) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) called for united movement against illegal drugs through active participation in the government’s recently launched Buhay Ingatan Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) program during the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Camarines Sur’s Kapihan sa PIA press forum held Feb. 22, Wednesday.

Local Government Operations Officer Gelica Milkah Rivera of DILG Camarines Sur said that BIDA Program is a continuous and a strengthened campaign against illegal drugs under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The said program is a national and holistic advocacy against illegal drugs with the involvement of various sectors in the community. It also focuses on the drug demand and supply reduction in the country.

“We believe that the long-aged fight against illegal drugs should no longer be a responsibility of uniformed authorities. It is now a social responsibility where everyone has a contribution to offer. All of us must have a role to achieve a drug-free community by 2028,” she said.

In order to make sure that there will be a stronger cooperation among local government units, the DILG will come up with stricter monitoring and evaluation of their lined up anti-drug projects and activities. These shall be incorporated in their annual investment plan and annual budget.

“DILG is also tasked to conduct annual Anti-Drug Abuse Council and Peace and Order Council performance audits to verify that these bodies are highly-functional. Meetings, policies, plans and approved budget are among performance indicators of these audits to ensure that LGUs are compliant with anti-drug directives of the government,” Rivera said.

Most drug-cleared barangays in the regional tally

Admittedly, Provincial Director PCOL Julius Domingo of the CSPPO said that the Camarines Sur province has been tagged with the highest number of drug-affected barangays in the region. However, it has since achieved victory in its drug fight as it also logged the largest rate of drug-cleared barangays.

“A rate of 63% out of 1063 barangays – that is 670 barangays – have been cleared in the province,” Domingo told local reporters.

Provincial Officer and Investigation Agent Mark Anthony Viray of PDEA Camarines Sur added that there are still 392 barangays left for clearing, including the barangays in Naga City. Meanwhile, Gainza and Magarao have been recognized as drug-cleared municipalities.

Domingo said that since there is a growing number of drug-cleared barangays in the province, the Philippine National Police continues to intensify and reinforce anti-drug operations so that these barangays will not be affected anymore.

Aside from reducing the drug demand and supply operations in the province, Viray said that they are also going through hard reduction caused by illegal drugs.

Viray said that the agency is now concentrating on dismantling more drug dens and creating more preventive and rehabilitative interventions for drug-surrenderers.

He also raised the need for medical practitioners in the province who can help in aiding the rehabilitation of persons who used drugs.

“We found out that out of 46 medical practitioners in Camarines Sur, only nine doctors are trained and licensed to conduct rehabilitation and intervention. This is the reason why there is difficulty in facilitating reintegration services among them because doctors assigned in the municipalities do not have the necessary trainings,” PDEA provincial officer said.

Viray said they have already requested the assistance of the Department of Health Bicol in order to move towards drug-free communities in this province.

Furthermore, both PDEA and CSPPO heads told local reporters that there are no reported cases of drug recycling in the province. Nevertheless, there is still counter intelligence and monitoring with the police personnel and surprise drug test particularly to those assigned in illegal drugs.

“Drug recycling is strongly prohibited. Whoever is caught doing it especially in the line of government service such as barangay officials or enforcement personnel, we are going to appropriately arrest and surely, there is a place for them,” Viray said.

Rivera also said that there through the BIDA Programs, persons who used illegal drugs shall not only undergo rehabilitation but also integration programs and services that will equip them with good morals in life and access to livelihood opportunities, with the help of other government agencies. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)


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