PDEA sets guidelines for implementation of barangay drug clearing program

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has outlined the guidelines in the implementation of barangay (village) drug clearing program to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in communities and promote involvement of local barangays in the suppression of drug trafficking and abuse.

“Barangays, as the first line of defense, should be tapped as force multipliers of the national anti-drug campaign at the grassroots level. An integrated approach to emerge victorious in the war on drugs is to rid illegal drugs barangay by barangay,” PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said in statement Sunday.

Among the general guidelines provided in the drug-clearing program are the mandatory creation of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) nationwide; the conduct of barangay drug-clearing operations which is divided into three phases, namely the Pre-Operation Phase, Operation Phase and Post-Operation Phase; the classification of barangays in determining the priority areas for clearing operations; the duties of local chief executives in the barangay drug-clearing program; and the penalty for non-compliance.

“It is imperative that every barangay must have an anti-drug abuse council. Failure to do so is a direct violation of the law,” Lapeña said.

The BADACs were deputized and empowered to plan and implement strategic policies; and evaluate programs and projects on drug prevention and control, given the political and police powers of the barangay to administer the affairs of the community.

“BADACs are the most formidable anti-drug task forces that can be created because of their influence on local residents and can relate to the needs of their constituents,” Lapeña added.

The conduct of sustaining clearing operations against drug-affected barangays in the initial phase include the activation of BADACs, capability enhancement of all stakeholders through seminars, preventive education and trainings, organization of house clusters to determine all essential facts of illegal drug activities happening in the neighborhood, submission of report containing watch-list of drug personalities, establishment of a rehabilitation referral desk in every barangay, among others.

“The Operation Phase is the actual implementation of drug supply and demand reduction strategies in drug-affected areas. This is where PDEA and other support agencies come into play,” he added.

The Post-Operation Phase is aimed to maintain the ‘Drug-Cleared’ status of the barangays after drug-clearing operations through sustainable support projects such as sports, religious and social activities, implement sustainable livelihood projects as a reintegration program to former users and pushers, and continuing anti-drug awareness programs.

“Local chief executives are duty bound to ensure the organization of BADAC in all barangays within their territorial jurisdiction, allocation of substantial portion in the barangay budget and ensure compliance with the duties and responsibilities of the BADAC in the anti-drug campaign,” the PDEA chief noted.

Failure of concerned local officials to appropriate a substantial portion of their Annual Budgets to assist in or enhance the enforcement of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as mandatorily required by law in all budget preparations, shall be a ground for disapproval of their Annual Budget on review and for possible administrative case of dereliction of duty pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code.

“These guidelines should manage effectively the anti-drug clearing operations in the barangays. We are doing it one barangay at a time until all barangays are safe from the ill-effects of illegal drugs,” the PDEA chief concluded. PNA-northboundasia.com