Bataan wants to be PHL’s first drug-free province

BALANGA CITY, Bataan — Bataan expressed hope of becoming the first province in the country to be drug-free with only 37 percent of the villages still affected with the menace, police and provincial officials said on Saturday.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has declared an all-out war on drugs and targeted a drug-free Philippines in six months.

“Bago Oktubre ng taong ito, drug-free na ang buong Bataan. Tayo ang kauna-unahang probinsiya na magiging cleared sa droga sa buong Pilipinas (Before October this year, the whole Bataan will be drug-free. We will be the first province to be cleared from illegal drugs in the entire Philippines),” said provincial anti-illegal drug convenor chair Carlos Pizarro Jr.

Pizarro, who is general manager of the Metro Bataan Development Authority, lauded the dedication of police in wiping out the drug menace in the province.

“Ipinakita ng mga pulis na hindi sila titigil hangang sa mawala ang droga sa Bataan (Our policemen showed that they will not stop until illegal drugs in Bataan vanished),” he said.

He foresees the coming in of more investors.

“Ang drug convenor group ay patuloy na magbabantay para hindi na muling maging problema ang illegal drugs sa Bataan (The drug convenor group will continue to watch closely so that illegal drugs will no longer be a problem again in Bataan),” Pizarro said.

Police Senior SupT. Benjamin Silo Jr., Bataan police director, said out of 211 drug-affected barangays as of July 1, 2016, a total of 127 have already been cleared as of Aug. 31.

The province has 237 barangays but only 211 were listed as drug-affected.

Per validation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police in Region 3, three out of 11 towns and one city were declared 100% clear of drugs. These are the towns of Bagac, Morong and Pilar.

“Our target is to be the first province nationwide to become drug-free before October 1, 2016,” the provincial director said.

He said that police and the provincial government have adopted in the campaign against illegal drugs the winning slogan, “A drug-free community is the safest place to be.”

It won first place in the poster- and slogan-writing contest held by the Bataan police for high school students last week.

Silo said 19 persons involved in illegal drugs were killed in legitimate police operations, 240 arrested and 3,616 surrendered from July 1 to Aug. 31.

Mayor Alice Pizarro of Pilar gave credit to the good cooperation between the police, village officials and the community for her town to be drug-free. Ernie Esconde/PNA/