CLARK FREEPORT – A total of 827 barangays in Central Luzon are targeted for clearing by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 3 for 2019.
This was disclosed by PDEA regional director Atty. Gil T. Pabilona on Friday during the “News@Hues” media forum organized by the Pampanga Press Club in cooperation with Park Inn Clark Hotel by Radisson here.
Pabilona said there are 2,439 drug affected villages in Central Luzon and “our marching order is to clear these drug-affected barangays before President Duterte steps down from office.”
He said their plan is to divide the total into three for the three years remaining in the Duterte administration.
“So, we need to clear for this year 827 drug affected barangays,” he said.
“Before President Duterte steps down from office, all barangays should be cleared,” he added.
In the meantime, Pabilona said, PDEA Region 3 continues its monitoring and revalidating of drug affected barangays.
Pabilona, who assumed as PDEA Central Luzon regional director in March, said among the highly urbanized cities (HUC) in the region, Olongapo City is still on top of the most drug affected followed by Angeles City.
Pabilona also noted that Angeles City’s barangay drug clearing operation is moving but “slow-paced ang operations.” He attributed this to the size of Angeles and its barangays which he described as “big.”
“The area is big, malaki lang talaga ang Angeles at mga barangay nila so slow paced ang operations,” he said.
Pabilona said their focus is to monitor drug dens in Angeles and Olongapo cities.
“Mayroon kasi mga drug dens sa Angeles at yung sa Olongapo, so ito yung may mataas pa rin ang drug affectation ng barangays,” he said.
Olongapo City is highest based on percentage because it has 16 drug-affected barangays out of 17 and only one is cleared, he explained.
Pabilona pointed out that Angeles City is second on the list because it has 31 drug affected barangays out of 33 and only two are cleared.
He said a cleared barangay means that it has met the PDEA parameters of no drug pushers in the area, absence of users, no drug dens and the presence of community-based programs among others.
Pabilona said PDEA has 14 parameters and all should be complied with before they get cleared. He added that the information is validated regularly every three months.
In Nueva Ecija, 119 barangays are cleared out of 849 drug affected barangays followed by Pampanga at 385 drug affected barangays and 118 cleared.
He said Tarlac has 392 drug affected barangays and 110 barangays cleared while Bulacan has 507 drug affected barangays and 35 cleared villages.
“Ito yung mga provinces na may malalaking drug affectation,” he said.
The PDEA director said Bataan has 118 drug affected villages and 116 are cleared, Zambales has 185 drug affected barangays and 43 cleared while Aurora has 96 drug affected villages and 54 barangays cleared.
Meanwhile, Pabilona said more than 1,000 personalities are also being monitored by PDEA from more than 3,000 active drug personalities in the region.
He said high value targets are classified due to their positions like elected officials, government workers, celebrities, those in the target list or most wanted list and foreign nationals.
Pabilona said PDEA is not authorized to divulge the names of the target personalities and those that were delisted. “Only on the national level that this can be done or the President himself,” he said.
“We have an adjudication process. When we see that the person is no longer active in drug related activities, we transfer his file to that of inactive or suspended file. If for one year he was not active, he is removed from the list of ‘subject to operations,” the PDEA CL chief explained.
Otherwise, those who are not yet cleared are continually being validated and revalidated by the PNP, NICA, PDEA and NBI, he said.