436 North Cotabato barangays now 'drug cleared'
436 North Cotabato barangays now 'drug cleared'
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 26, 2020 - 4:22pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — An inter-agency oversight committee has declared 436 of the 543 barangays in North Cotabato province as "drug cleared."

The oversight committee, led by Naravy Duquiatan, director for Region 12 of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, is aiming to have the remaining 107 barangays follow suit by the end of the year.

The PDEA-led oversight committee that evaluated the drug situation in each of the 436 barangays has representatives from the Police Regional Office-12 and from the provincial offices of the local government and health departments.

Gov. Nancy Catamco said Wednesday she and the mayors and barangay officials in the province will focus on how to secure a drug-cleared tag for the remaining 107 barangays still subject to evaluation by the oversight committee.

According to the policy-setting Dangerous Drugs Board, "drug-cleared" barangays are those that had been "classified as previously drug affected and subjected to drug clearing operation and declared free from any illegal drug activities."

Aside from the absence of drug activities, barangays must also have active involvement by village officials and the Sanggunian Kabataan in anti-drug activities.

Barangays must also have drug awareness and prevention programs as well as "voluntary and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desk."

There are 17 towns in North Cotabato whose capital, Kidapawan City, covers more than 40 barangays.

More than 50 large-scale shabu peddlers in North Cotabato have been arrested in separate police and PDEA-12 operations since the first-termer Catamco was elected to office in May 2019.

Duquiatan said PDEA-12 is doing its best to address the drug issues in the remaining 107 barangays in the province still to be declared as drug-cleared.

"We are thankful to the provincial government for being very supportive of our anti-drug activities in municipalities under its jurisdiction," Duquiatan said.

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