Mayor dismayed on hike in drug affected barangays

BAGUIO CITY May 31 – Mayor Mauuricio G. Domogan expressed disappointment over the increase in the city's drug affected barangays from six to twenty four which means that concerned sectors and residents still have a long way to go in the aggressive implementation of interventions to achieve a drug free city.

Based on the report of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), the Regional Oversight Committee chaired by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) elevated to drug affected some 18 barangays in the city this year which was added to the 6 drug affected barangays last year that resulted to the increase to 24 the drug affected barangays in the city to date.

The local chief executive said it is unfortunate that there are drug surrenderers who simply voluntarily give themselves up to the combined police and anti-narcotics authorities for compliance sake but they actually go back to the pursuit of their illegal activities which is one of the reasons why the city has not yet been cleared from the proliferation of prohibited drugs.

"Our newly elected barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials have a tough job ahead of them because of the need to further enhance our aggressive anti-illegal drug campaign to eventually stop the illegal drug trade in our city. We are wondering why there are still individuals who continue to ply the illegal drug trade when there has been a strong warning from the national and local governments for them to stop the said illegal activity," Domogan stressed.

According to him, the recent shootout between illegal drug traders and law enforcers along Lower Rock Quarry only shows that there are still unscrupulous individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who are willing to risk their lives just for them to be able to continue selling prohibited drugs, thus, the need for barangay officials to be able to closely work together so that they will be able to rid their areas of jurisdiction from the presence of drug personalities and help the law enforcement agencies and the local government achieve a drug free city.

He ordered the BCPO officials to check with the Regional Oversight Committee the re-inclusion of the 18 barangays in the city as drug affected barangays so that they will be able to strategize the implementation of the appropriate measures on how to neutralize the presence of drug personalities in the said barangays and revert back their classification to drug cleared barangays.

He claimed that there are also some drug surrenderers from other places in the country who came to the city to ply the illegal drug trade with the hope that they will be able to continue trading prohibited drugs without knowing that law enforcers are on alert against those individuals involved in the illegal drug trade.

Domogan emphasized the local government remains committed in supporting the national government's all-out campaign against illegal drugs which has been identified as one of the root causes of crimes that is why concerned sectors had been tapped to help in curbing the proliferation of illegal drugs by reporting to the concerned authorities vital information relative to those who are said to be involved in the illegal activity. He expressed optimism that there will be a significant reduction in the drug affected barangays during the conduct of the evaluation by the Regional Oversight Committee once the local government and the law enforcement agencies will be able to intensify their anti-illegal drug operations. By Dexter A. See

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