GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / October 14) – Police authorities in southern Cotabato are pushing for the elimination of illegal drugs by next year in the 32 barangays still affected by drugs in the province.
Major Virlen Pampolina, head of the operations section of the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office, said drug clearance operations were continuing in the affected barangays on Thursday in coordination with other enforcement agencies laws and local stakeholders.
He said a number of barangays have already complied with the requirements of the drug clearance program and have submitted the necessary reports and documentation to the regional oversight committee.
“Some of them are just waiting for the certification of the chairman of the committee,” he told reporters.
The oversight committee, which is co-chaired by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Local Government, includes the Ministry of Health and the Philippine National Police.
From May to September, at least 19 barangays affected by drugs in the 10 towns and the only town in the province were declared cleared by the regional monitoring committee.
In the third quarter of the year, Pampolina said 159 of the province’s 199 barangays had already been declared cleared.
He said eight of them have been certified as drug-free areas will undergo further assessment to be declared “drug-free” areas.
These barangays are the Assumption in the town of Koronadal; Danlag, Halilan, Hanoon and Klubi in Lake Sebu; and, Afus, Mongocayo and Tbolok in Tboli.
Pampolina said they have broadened their engagements with local stakeholders including city councils and anti-drug barangay to strengthen their campaigns and operations in communities.
He said they saw these “support groups” as the first line of defense against the proliferation of illegal drugs in communities.
âWe have established a strong collaboration with the communities to counter the demand on the ground,â he said.
The official said they had also increased their presence on social media, especially Facebook, to strengthen drug advocacy, especially among young people.
From June to September, South Cotabato police units launched at least 78 anti-drug operations, including 43 purchase-busts, 26 police assistance interventions, and the execution of one search and eight arrest warrants. .
Some 24.55 grams of marijuana and 33.37 grams of shabu were recovered, with a total value of 231,111 P.
Some 61 drug dealers, including high-value target figures, as well as seven users have been arrested, and 57 cases have already been filed in various courts. (MindaNews)