By Mike Crismundo
PILAR, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte – At least 53 barangays in Surigao del Norte province are now considered drug free, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Caraga region (PDEA-13) reported on Thursday.
PDEA 13 Regional Spokesperson Dindo Abellanosa told The Manila Bulletin that Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) of the Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) chaired by PDEA-13 Regional Director Aileen T. Lovitos officially declared the 53 barangays as drug-free.
“The said barangays were declared drug free after thorough evaluation and validation,” said Abellanosa, quoting the statement of PDEA 13 Director Lovitos.
The BDCP-ROC also cleared the said barangays after thorough assessment and recommendations given by the BDCP Surigao del Norte Provincial Oversight Committee.
Cleared villages in Surigao del Norte include 14 barangays in the town of Claver, 8 in Bacuag, 4 in Gigaquit, 21 in Surigao City, and 6 in Sison.
With the recent declaration, PDEA-13 said all barangays in the towns of Bacuag, Gigaquit, and Claver are now considered drug free, the PDEA 13 spokesperson said..
Of the 1,311 total numbers of barangays in Surigao del Norte, PDEA-13 said 897 or 68.42 percent had already been declared drug free.
Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas and the province’s 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose F. Matugas ll asked all local officials to closely coordinate with the local authorities, particularly the police and PDEA to make their respective communities drug-free.
“Everybody has a vital role to play to hit our objective to make the whole province as drug free in this part of Mindanao,” stressed Rep. Matugas, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin at the sideline of the grand opening of 12th Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament.
The Surigao del Norte solon dismissed the allegation of some politicians on the “transshipment issue” of alleged suspected floating cocaine” found by fishermen in Burgos town in this island last week.
“I urged our constituents here not to be used by the propaganda of some politicians and instead concentrate in helping government authorities to make this beautiful and paradise island as drug free,” stressed the Surigao del Norte solon, dismissing the issue on cocaine which is now being discovered in other parts of the country since early this month, where he also pointed out that Filipinos cannot afford this one and they do not know what cocaine is.
Instead, Rep. Bingo asked higher police authorities to thoroughly investigate why these floating cocaine are seen in the seashore in the Philippine territory and to determine its origin.
“This must be investigated,” stressed further by the Surigao del Norte solon.