MANILA -- More than 11,000 barangays across the country have already been cleared from illegal drugs since the start of the Duterte administration's crackdown on illegal drugs in 2016, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Thursday.
During the Real Numbers press briefing Thursday, PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon said at least 11,080 out of the 42,044 barangays (villages) in the country have been declared drug-cleared as of January 31.
As of this posting, a total of 21,974 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs but the Philippine National Police (PNP), together with the PDEA, stressed that the government's campaign against illegal drugs is continuous.
Carreon said that before declaring that a barangay free from illegal drug activities, the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) must convene and validate the non-availability of drug supply in the area and the absence of drug transit activity, clandestine drug laboratory and chemical warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den, drug pushers and users.
He said the activation of Barangay Drug Abuse Councils, or BADACs, is very crucial in the success of the implementation of the campaign.
In partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), PDEA conducted training-orientation to local government units (LGUs) all over the country on measures and indicators on declaring drug-cleared barangays.
For his part, PNP spokesperson, Senior Supt. Bernard Banac said authorities dismantled a total of 301 drug dens and shabu laboratories in the country from July 2016 to January 2019.
Out of this number, 287 are drug dens and 14 are clandestine shabu laboratories while, various types of illegal drugs worth PHP25.94 billion were seized.
This amount includes 3,401.17 kilograms of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP19.14 billion.
Based on Real Numbers data, authorities also arrested 170,689 individuals involved in illegal drugs during the said period.
Included in the total figure are 627 government workers -- 263 of them elected officials, 69 uniformed personnel, and 295 government employees.
Around 119,841 anti-illegal drugs operations were conducted by joint law enforcement agencies during the period.
As of January 2019, the consolidated report showed that 5,176 drug suspects have died during anti-illegal drugs operations.
From July 2016 to January 2019, authorities also arrested 2,016 minors. This can be broken down into 1,089 pushers; 533 possessors; 271 users; 105 visitors of drug den; six drug den maintainers; nine drug den employees and three cultivators.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the rescued minors, after court proceedings, will be turned over to the Bahay Pag-asa centers of LGUs within eight hours of police custody, before turning them over to the DSWD.
Since they are minors, the DSWD said they would not be put behind bars together with hardened criminals.
Meanwhile, the PDEA has opened community-based reformation centers aimed to rehabilitate drug offenders known as Balay Silangan Reformation Center or “house of hope”, it is a temporary shelter intended to reform drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.
Balay Silangan Reformation Program is aimed at teaching drug offenders’ livelihood programs and life skills to prepare their reintegration into society.
To date, a total of 24 Balay Silangan centers have been inaugurated nationwide and 150 persons had been graduated since January 2018 up to January 2019.
The Balay Silangan National Oversight Committee, whose task is to oversee the implementation of the program, is chaired by PDEA which include the DILG, the DSWD, Technical Education and Skills Development Administration, Parole and Probation Administration, Bureau of Corrections, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of National Defense, the PNP, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as members. (PNA)