DAGUPAN CITY - The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has declared 16 barangays from the towns of Umingan, Sual, and San Fabian, and this city as drug-cleared following a series of evaluations and monitoring.
In a phone interview on Monday, PDEA Pangasinan provincial officer Rechie Camacho said Pangasinan now has 1,065 drug-cleared barangays out of the 1,272 drug-affected barangays in the province.
"Hopefully, we would be able to clear the entire province before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration as we only have 14 percent left," he said.
The barangays underwent rigorous validation by the provincial and regional barangay drug clearing team and were declared by the Regional Oversight Committee as drug-cleared during the deliberation in November this year, according to PDEA Pangasinan.
Camacho said most of the remaining barangays not cleared from illegal drugs lack "Balay Silangan", which is a requirement for the local government units (LGUs).
"Balay Silangan is where the pushers are rehabilitated. It is required of the LGUs but due to the pandemic, the supposed facilities to be turned into Balay Silangan were used as coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) facilities," he said.
He added they are encouraging the LGUs to work on establishing a "Balay Silangan" as Covid-19 cases are now declining.
Meanwhile, Camacho said there was a reduction in the volume of supply of illegal drugs in the province amid the pandemic.
However, he said they are monitoring the impact of easing the border requirements to the transactions of illegal drugs in the province. (PNA)