â€œThe drug problem is something that the Provincial Government takes very seriously,â€ Gov. Edgar Chatto said in his State of the Province Address (SOPA) during the session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol held at Bohol Cultural Center yesterday.
The governor delivered his last SOPA for his second term attended in full force by the members of SP chaired by Vice-Gov. Concepcion O. Lim, municipal and city mayors, municipal and city vice-mayors, heads and employees of national and provincial government agencies/offices, police and military officers, non-government organizations and other sectors.
He said eradicating drugs by all means possible is very important for â€œinclusive growth is not possible without peace and order.â€
â€œLet it be known that the Provincial Government is serious about fighting illegal drugs.Â We are doing, and will continue to do what it takes to eliminate this threat to the Boholano community.â€
He said that continuing coordination with law enforcers, the police led by Col Dennis Agustin and Armed Forces of the Philippines by Col. Arnulfo Matanguihan and other law enforcement agencies is one of the strategies.
â€œThus, we continue to vigorously campaign against illegal drugs through the joint efforts of the PNP, PDEA, NBI, LGUs and other stakeholders.Â This means attacking the problem from many angles and using different strategies, such as:Â Supply reduction; Test-buy, buy-bust, and surveillance operations; Arrest of persons involved in illegal drugs; Confiscation of illegal substances; and the Filing of appropriate cases in court.Â This also includes Demand reduction, through Drug awareness programs, IECs, and symposia for: Barangay Officials; parents, teachers, high school and college students; household heads; probationers, parolees, and pardonees; Barangay Assemblies, the Liga ng mga barangay; and the Organization ofÂ Barkada Kontra Droga.â€
Chatto said he signed an Executive Order creating Joint Task Force Dagon as part of the convergence strategy. The task group is composed of â€œTGÂ BanatÂ on Anti-Illegal Drugs; TGÂ Luwas-KinabuhiÂ on Disaster Response; TGÂ TuristaÂ on Tourism Security; TGÂ Palusoton Anti-Smuggling; TGÂ KinaiyahanÂ on Environmental ProtectIon; TGÂ KalinawÂ onÂ Internal Security; TGÂ KadalananÂ on Traffic; TGKadagatanÂ on Maritime Security; and TGÂ Kontra-KrimenÂ on Anti-Criminality.â€
Hereunder is his SOPA on same subject matter delivered on February 20, 2015.
â€œWe will not sugarcoat our challenging situation in peace and order, especially with the very recent killing of a Boholano radio anchor affectionately known as â€œChairman Mauâ€. We assure you, our police investigators are doing their best, with our law enforcement agencies. We are working with our police force to reduce criminality in Bohol. Statistics show that there is reason to be optimistic: for example, last year has seen a 285% increase in the number of persons arrested vis-Ã -vis illegal drugs, and a 423% increase in the number of cases filed against the offenders. While the comparative crime volume has admittedly increased in 2014 vs. 2013, this includes increased police action. The comparative number of solved cases and cleared cases has increased by a much greater degree â€“ 101% for solved cases, and 120% for cleared cases. Certainly, this points to a much greater degree of efficiency among our law enforcement agents. Our advocacy continues strongly for a non-killing Boholano society, with our Judges and Prosecutors exercising their critical role in the administration of justice.â€
â€œWe provided a budget in 2015 for the Legal Assistance for Effective Law Enforcement Program (LAELEP), and are also providing for the availability of lawyers in satellite offices.â€
â€œAddressing these challenges requires concerted action from all sectors. We acknowledge here the importance of the role of the Municipal mayors, led by Mayor Lloyd Lopez, the Municipal Vice Mayors, led by Vice Mayor Dodo Jumawid, barangay captains and other local officials, the AFP in Bohol, led by Col. Arnulfo Matanguihan and Lt. Colonel Potenciano Camba, and the Bohol Provincial Police Office, led by PSSupt. Dennis Agustin. But the government cannot do it alone â€“ we need the cooperation of all sectors. And this refers to all challenges under peace and order: drug abuse, illegal numbers game, urban criminality and even insurgency.â€Â (rvo)