FOR the first time since the Duterte administration launched its war against illegal drugs in 2016, two barangays in Cebu City have been declared “drug-cleared” by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing (ROCBC).
Jonah John Rodriguez, head of the Cebu City Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap), identified the two barangays as Sto. Niño and Sudlon 1 on his Facebook page.
Rodriguez said he was very proud that the two barangays were able to pass rigid requirements to be given the distinction by the ROCBC.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7, which chairs the ROCBC, echoed his sentiment.
According to PDEA 7 information officer Leia Alcantara, it is possible for a barangay in a highly urbanized city like Cebu City to be declared “drug-cleared” as long as local governments coordinate and work together with law enforcement agencies.
All the 80 barangays of Cebu City had a serious illegal drugs problem, which prompted the City Government and the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council to address it by introducing a barangay community-based drug rehabilitation program that encouraged drug surrenderers to go into rehab.
In Barangay Sudlon 1, all 98 identified drug personalities did not only go into rehab but they were also monitored to make sure they stopped using illegal drugs.
Even if someone is arrested for illegal drugs in either of the two barangays, this won’t affect their standing, Alcantara said. It only means that the police, PDEA 7 and Barangays Sto. Niño and Sudlon 1 officials are doing a good job at preventing the entry of illegal drugs.
“Actually, the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations is important for the barangay to maintain its drug-cleared status. It doesn’t mean the police or PDEA 7 will stop operating in a barangay that is declared drug-cleared,” Alcantara said in Cebuano.
The ROCBC is considering nine other barangays in Cebu City for the “drug-cleared” status before the end of this year. (AYB, PJB)