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206 villages yet to be cleared of illegal drugs

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

A total of 206 barangays in Negros Occidental, including in highly urbanized Bacolod City, have yet to declared drug cleared, according to a report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Of the 206 barangays, a total of 160 are in Negros Occidental, while 46 are in Bacolod City.

Negros Occidental has 601 barangays, and 61 in Bacolod City.

PDEA information officer, Ma. Graziella Tanaleon, said Thursday they look forward to reducing the number once the Regional Oversight Committee finishes the last deliberation for the Barangay Drug Clearing Program this year, tentatively set in Iloilo City on December 14.

“We are looking into 40 barangays. We are waiting for clearance from other committee members. Our last deliberation was in August, and hoping that before this year ends, we can declare additional drug-cleared barangays,” she said in an interview.

The 40 barangays are from Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Capiz, and Iloilo.

Tanaleon said they continue to hold capability training with anti-drug abuse councils (ADACs) because the application for drug clearing emanates from ADACs in barangays.

As of Thursday, 91.25 percent, equivalent to 3,698 barangays, have been cleared of illegal drugs.

Tanaleon said they are very meticulous in making sure that barangays are compliant with the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Board on the parameters for drug clearing.

She said those left to be cleared still have drug personalities to be rehabilitated or yet to graduate from the community-based rehabilitation program, or they have small-time pushers yet to complete their reformation program at the Balay Silangan.

“Our validation of drug personalities, together with our intelligence units, is still ongoing because we still have pending anti-drug operations,” she said.* with PNA reports

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