Saturday, November 25, 2017

2 Ilocos Norte towns, 80 barangays now drug-free—PDEA

Results of a PDEA Ilocos Norte drug raid. (Alaric A. Yanos)

By Edison Justin Deus

Laoag City—The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Ilocos Norte declared the towns of Carasi and Marcos, and 80 other barangays in Ilocos Norte as “completely drug-free.”

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) considers a local community as “drug-free” if supply of illegal drugs, transit and trade, drug laboratories and warehouses, drug dens, marijuana cultivation sites, users and pushers, protectors, and financiers are absent.

Lanibel Ancheta, PDEA Ilocos Norte provincial officer, said the most effective method to eradicate illegal drugs in the province is through the implementation of barangay clearings and community-based rehabilitation programs.

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued a memorandum directing PDEA to lead anti-drug operations after initially mandating the Philippine National Police (PNP) to spearhead the said campaign at the beginning of his term last year. The latest directive was in accordance with the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 or Republic Act (RA) 9165 which mandates PDEA to enforce the provisions of the law and serve as the implementing arm of the DDB.

Despite having only six officers in Ilocos Norte, PDEA continues to coordinate with the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office (INPPO) in conducting drug-clearing operations and supply reduction measures.

In its continuing campaign for a livable, sustainable, and resilient Ilocos Norte, the provincial government lead by governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos strongly supports the anti-drug operations: “Sumusugod ang anti-private firearms group (PFAG) natin, PDEA at PNP. Kailangan ang tulong ng barangay, ng kabataan, upang mabuwag ang mga malalaking sindikato. Salakniban ti biag dagiti annaktayo!”

PDEA Ilocos Norte and the PNP continue to conduct lectures on illegal drugs and community-based rehabilitation programs to achieve a drug-free province in line with the principle of Ms.  Marcos that “peace and order are the requisite of development.”

In addition, a pilot rehabilitation clinic at the Vintar District Hospital in Vintar, Ilocos Norte will open next year. The project is in conjunction with Mr. Duterte’s ongoing anti-drug campaign.

"Ti gobierno ti sanggir iti umili", Ms. Marcos said, "By investing in Ilocano families, we can overcome the unbearable social cost of reckless migration… We must confront our youth in crisis, and provide solutions to substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and other social ills wrought within heartbroken families."

Aside from the drug rehabilitation clinic, the provincial government also plans a pilot family shelter at the Doña Josefa E. Marcos District Hospital in Marcos, Ilocos Norte.

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