By Chito A. Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday reported that 5,324 out of the 42,036 barangays in the country have been declared free of illegal drugs from July, 2016 to December, 2017.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said that this year, the agency plans to clear 7,328 barangays, or a projected average of 617 barangays per month.
By 2022, Aquino said PDEA aims to clear 24,424 affected barangays of illegal drugs.
“PDEA is setting the bar high. We intend to clear an average of 6,000 drug-affected barangays every year for the next four years. If we can sustain the pace, we can rid the country’s drug problem by 2022 and maintain the drug-free status,” Aquino pointed out.
Out of the 24,424 drug-affected barangays, 15,290 are classified as slightly affected, 9,089 are moderately affected, while 45 barangays are seriously affected.
Aquino explained that barangays are considered slightly affected if there are reported presence of drug user/s; moderately affected if there are reported presence of drug pusher/s and/or user/s and seriously affected if there are reported presence of any of the following: clandestine drug laboratory, warehouse, marijuana plantation, and drug den/tiangge, drug trafficking or smuggling activities, and drug personalities such as users, pushers, financiers, protectors, cultivators, manufacturers and others.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has the most number of barangays gripped by the drug menace, followed by the Zamboanga Peninsula, Central Visayas, Central Luzon and Caraga region.
The least affected regions are the Bicol region and Cordillera Administrative Region.