Out of Tagbilaran City’s 15 barangays, four have been pinpointed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the sole law enforcement office carrying out the government’s war on drugs, as hotspots for narcotics trade.
This was bared by PDEA Bohol chief Agent Nicholas Gomez during the joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council at the Governor’s Mansion in Tagbilaran City on Monday.
Gomez tagged the villages of Taloto, Ubujan, Cogon and Manga as areas where most of the arrests against drug personalities were made during previous anti-illegal drug operations based on data gathered by the PDEA.
Meanwhile, Gomez admitted that President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to have the PDEA solely bear the challenging task of going after drug personalities would be a tall order, particularly for the agency’s Bohol office which only has five agents.
According to Gomez, the PDEA in Bohol has been ill-equipped in carrying out anti-illegal drug operations even prior to the issuance of Duterte’s new policy.
Although drug supply in the province has significantly plummeted, both the lack of equipment and personnel have been longstanding problems for the agency in its anti-drug drive as it was also tasked to conduct drug clearing operations, he said.
Earlier, PDEA agent Ma. Chona Engam said that villages need to meet 14 parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) before they are considered cleared of illegal drug activities.
“They need to comply with these parameters—the nonavailability of drug supply, absence of drug transit, absence of clandestine laboratory and warehouses,” said Egam.
The drug-cleared status also validates that the village is cleared of marijuana cultivation sites, illegal drug dens, dives, or resorts; and verifies the absence of illegal drug pushers, users, dependents, protectors, coddlers and financiers.
According to Egam, villages need to be cleared at the barangay and municipal levels before an oversight committee led by the PDEA reassesses the area’s drug presence status. (R. Tutas)