GENERAL SANTOS CITY - A total of 109 barangays in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have retained their status as drug-cleared, boosting efforts to contain the illegal drug problem in local communities.
Kath Abad, spokesperson of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 12, said on Wednesday the concerned barangays have passed the validation for retention conducted by the Regional Oversight Committee of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program.
Abad said 64 of them are in North Cotabato, 27 in Sultan Kudarat, 17 in Sarangani, and one in South Cotabato.
A total of 974 out of 1,153 barangays in the region were already declared as drug-cleared as of the end of October.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation 4, the oversight committee confers the retention of drug-cleared status to a barangay "if there is no presence of active PWUDs (persons who use drugs), pushers, drug den maintainer, coddler, protector, financier, cultivator, manufacturer, and others, or relapse case."
"Drug-cleared barangays are required to apply for the retention of their status after a certain period and undergo another round of assessment and validation," Abad said in an interview.
She said in this city, at least nine of its 26 barangays that had been declared as drug-cleared need to apply for retention.
Abad said the anti-drug abuse councils of the concerned barangays need to submit the necessary documents to the oversight committee and pass the validation to retain their drug-cleared status.
The committee, co-chaired by PDEA and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, includes the Department of Health and Philippine National Police.
At least 81 more barangays in the region were confirmed by the oversight committee as of the end of October as drug-cleared and drug-free, while others retained their status.
A report released by PDEA-12 said 71 barangays have sustained their drug-cleared classification, four drug-unaffected have been vetted and confirmed as drug-free, and six drug-affected have been declared as drug-cleared. (PNA)