Tagbilaran still struggles to get drug-free badge

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Tagbilaran still struggles to get drug-free badge

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Starting November, the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) will be clearing several areas in the province from the anti-drug war, but the capital still has a long way to go struggling for the badge.

Former city chief of police, Police Superintendent George Vale, who now heads the Provincial Intelligence Branch, said no sign yet has been seen that any of the 15 barangays in Tagbilaran could be drug-free soon.

It would be along way to go yet for Tagbilaran, according to Vale.

A number of drug personalities in the city continue with their illegal activities and more police operations need to be conducted.

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It would take time to corner high-profile drug personalities, most of them remain elusive.

Vale said the police have to double time on this, so Tagbilaran will be cleared once and for all as the area is an important factor to the development of Bohol being the gateway.

On the contrary, a number of municipalities have already been cleared and the confirmation will be out within November.

So far, Sikatuna and Batuan could already be announced ahead as the PIB monitored that drug affectations in the barangays in these towns have already been cleared.

This means, there is no more presence of personalities engaging in drug use and drug peddling in these areas.

Vale explained that it is the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) that confirms the non-drug affectation in their areas, while the police only validate the information beforehand.

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As of late September, the BPPO record showed that 1,071 of the 1,109 barangays in Bohol are either slightly affected or moderately affected by the drug menace and none had been seriously affected so far.

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In the record, Tagbilaran City had 11 of the 15 slightly affected and four moderately affected by the drug menace.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has set “three basic parameters in determining barangay drug-affectation: slightly affected, moderately affected, and seriously affected. Those considered slightly affected have identified drug users in the community but no known drug pushers or traffickers operating in the area; moderately affected are those with at least one suspected drug pusher or trafficker operating in the barangay; and seriously affected are those with at least one drug laboratory, den, dive or resort suspected to exist in the community.

Vale hinted that that the crackdown on at least three drug rings operating in Bohol had major contribution to the drug clearing in the barangays.

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He cited the recent crackdown on the group of an alleged druglord, Erico Digal.

His brother, Romeo, was arrested in a raid on October 1 at their ancestral house in Poblacion, Carmen.

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Both Erico and Romeo were the subjects of the raid, but Erico had reportedly fled to another country.

The composite police team comprised of drug busters from the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG), Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (RAIDSOTG), PIB, and Carmen police confiscated two “bulto” packs of shabu with estimated value of P118,000, and cash amounting P1.4 million kept in a vault.

They also recovered a .38-caliber revolver loaded with six .357 ammunitions, a fragmentation grenade, and a rifle which turned out to be an Airsoft gun that resembled an M4 rifle.

Erico’s driver, Armando Digal- -also a relative- -was intercepted by NBI-Bohol team in an operation on June 7 this year in barangay Jimilian, Loboc.

Armando Digal, who hails from Sierra-Bullones, yielded five medium-size sachets of shabu and another pack of shabu in a big sachet with estimated weight of 11.3421 grams and estimated value of around P200,000.

Armando also yielded 16 live ammunitions of caliber 45, two magazines, one Colt caliber .45 pistol with serial no. 527492, four identification cards, cash amounting to P6,810 in different denominations.

Digal is now facing charges of violations of RA 9165 based on section 11 under Article 11, and Republic Act 10591 or the New Firearms Law under sections 28 and 32 in relation to the Comelec gun ban.

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