PDEA, PNP eye more drug-cleared villages in Iloilo City

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) look forward to declare 50 percent of Iloilo City’s slightly affected barangays as drug-cleared at the end of the first quarter.

“In partnership with the PNP and other government agencies, hopefully after this first quarter we can declare additional barangays, particularly those slightly affected barangays. We are hoping to process at least 50 percent, that is our projection,” said PDEA 6 (Western Visayas) officer-in-charge Alex M. Tablate, during a press conference after the regular meeting of the Iloilo City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) on Feb. 6.

Iloilo City has 69 slightly-affected barangays out of 180.

Currently, four barangays have been declared as drug-cleared: Quezon in Arevalo; Housing Block 17 and Pali in Mandurriao and Libertad Sta. Isabel in Jaro and Sampaguita in the city proper.

Meanwhile, Tablate said the PDEA and the PNP will continue to conduct anti-drug operations in barangays declared drug-cleared. “The anti-drug operations will continue because we want to maintain the status of the barangay,” he said.

Moreover, apprehensions in drug-cleared barangays do not automatically mean that their declaration is reverted. Instead, they will be subjected to a process where they will be given a 30-day period to submit a report and inform the PDEA and the PNP.

“Otherwise, if it lapsed and there were no actions from barangay officials, the regional oversight committee could issue a resolution reverting the barangay to a drug-affected barangay,” he said.

He added that even barangay officials can be held administratively and criminally liable for dereliction of duty.

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Martin Defensor Jr, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director said there is “no let-up in their operation” against illegal drugs.

“We have intensified our efforts that’s why there is a big reduction in the volume of drugs seized even if we launched the same operation as last year,” he said.

He said volume of confiscated shabu was reduced by around 50 percent. From 668 grams seized in 2017, the volume has been reduced to only 328.556 grams in 2018.
Apprehended personalities also came from other places. “We have analyzed that our move is effective,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tablate said Iloilo City has shown a big difference now when compared with previous years. In terms of operations, he said most of those apprehend were transient drug pushers.

This means there is no longer a “centralized drug syndicate” that controls the operations, he added.PNA