The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Negros Oriental remains as the most drug-affected province in Central Visayas, with 83.30 percent of its barangays tagged as drug affected, as of the first quarter of 2021.
PDEA Negros Oriental provincial officer, Intelligence Agent I Elmer Ebona, said that of the 557 barangays in the province, only 51 barangays were drug-free or certified unaffected, 84 were drug-cleared, and the rest considered as drug-affected, a government press release said.
“Of these barangays, 240 are classified as slightly affected, 171 moderately affected, nine seriously affected, and two remains to be unaffected,” Ebona reported during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting recently.
A barangay is considered drug-affected when there is a reported presence of drug users, pushers, marijuana cultivators, or other drug personalities, drug dens, marijuana plantations, clandestine drug laboratories, and facilities related to the manufacture of illegal drugs.
Ebona said the drug-cleared barangays were issued certifications by the oversight committee on the barangay drug-clearing program, led by PDEA.
“Being the most affected province in the region, there is a need to further strengthen the tie ups between law enforcement units,” he added.
PDEA also urged the local anti-drug abuse councils in each government unit to strictly implement the barangay drug-clearing program to address drug affectation in their areas of responsibility.
It was raised during the PPOC meeting that to address the moderately affected barangays, there is a need for local government units to establish a Balay Silangan facility where interventions will be done for drug offenders, who want to reform.
PDEA also reported that anti-illegal drug operations from January to May 2021 resulted in the arrest of 27 drug personalities, and the seizure of about P7,767,068 worth of illegal drugs.
There were 29 cases for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and other related cases filed in court.
FOCUS CRIMES DOWN
The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, reported that the eight focus crimes dropped by 25.8 percent from January to May 2021, compared to the same period last year, in Negros Oriental.
The eight focus crimes are murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, carnapping of vehicles, and carnapping of motorcycles.
At the PPOC meeting, the PNP reported that the incidence rate of murder cases decreased by 31.34 percent, or from 67 to 46 incidents.
Homicide cases went down by 30 percent, or from 10 to seven cases, physical injury – 9.46 percent, and rape at 36 percent.
Robbery cases also dipped by 20 percent, or from 30 to 24 incidents, while theft cases dropped by 35.79 percent, and motorcycle theft by 28.5 percent, the report added.
Only cases of carnapping increased by 100 percent, with one case recorded in January to May this year compared to zero cases in the same period last year.
On the other hand, non-index crimes also dropped by 14.6 percent, from 1,769 cases to 1,510, the police said.
Non-index crimes refer to cases of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, physical injury, or damage to property, and violation of special laws, among others.
Majority of the arrests in non-index crimes resulted from police-initiated operations, such as campaigns against illegal drugs, illegal gambling, wanted persons, and loose firearms.
The Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office also reported that under its anti-illegal drugs campaign, 263 pushers and users were arrested while 1,447.68 grams of shabu and 12.12 grams of marijuana, with total value of P9,845,678.40, were confiscated.
Under RA 9287, or the campaign against illegal gambling, the NORPPO operatives nabbed 1,111 persons and seized P119,879.50 in bet money.
On the campaign against loose firearms, or RA 8294, the police arrested 70 persons and confiscated 719 firearms, with 288 surrenderees.
The decrease in the total crime incidents and the increase of police-initiated anti-crime operations were attributed to the partnership and cooperation between the police and the community.*PIA