By Albert B. Lacanlale
LUBAO, Pampanga—Three barangays in this town have passed the rigid criteria set by government anti-drug agencies in declaring villages as “drug-cleared.”
Sta. Tereza I on June 29, 2018 received its certification as a drug-free community from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after hurdling the rigid 14 parameters set more than a year ago.
Earlier, the barangays of San Pedro Saug and San Jose Gumi have joined the few barangays in the whole country to satisfy the new PDEA parameters that effectively invalidated the “drug-cleared” status already conferred to many barangays in the past.
Twelve barangays of Lubao have already been declared “drug-cleared” using what is now referred to as Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Badac)-clearing parameters.
Police officials admit that the new parameters are much more difficult to satisfy. To have a single barangay declared drug-cleared is already a major accomplishment, they said.
To meet some of the criteria of the “drug-cleared” declaration, a barangay should have an active intelligence network, operational BADAC, regular status reporting of drug surrenderers who have also gone through the one-month reformation process, and that there are no clandestine drug laboratories or dens that exist in the barangay.
The Lubao Municipal Police Station, led by officer-in-charge Supt. Angelito Esteban, is on its way of having another barangay—San Pablo I—declared drug-cleared.
Sta. Tereza I Barangay Kagawad James Maris represented Barangay Captain Elmer Malit in receiving the PDEA certification during the municipal government’s flag-raising ceremony.
Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab said that the local government unit is not taking the fight against illegal drugs lightly.
She has directed barangay officials to coordinate closely with the police and other anti-drug agencies to eradicate the drug problem in the barangays.
The recent clearing of barangays by the PDEA, she said, should not be a reason for the municipal and barangay officials to lower their guards against drugs.
“If we’ll not help each other in maintaining the drug-cleared status of these barangays, all of our efforts will prove futile as drugs will surely resurface in the villages,” Cayabyab said.
Lubao Municipal Police Station officer-in-charge, Police Supt. Angelito B. Esteban (2-L), and SPO3 Rodolfo Bacani, Jr. (left) present to Kagawad James Maris the certificate declaring Barangay Sta. Tereza I as “drug-cleared”. Witnessing the awarding of certificate are Municipal Councilors Emmanuel Santos & Gonzalo Tungul and Municipal Administrator Elizalde Bernal.
(Photo by Sarah Skyler Mallari Bucu)