Issue of October 8, 2017
Mt. Province

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3 Cordillera provinces declared as ‘drug-free’
by Ofelia C. Empian

Three provinces in the Cordillera were declared as drug-free during the 116th Police Service anniversary celebrations of the Police Regional Office-Cordillera.

Philippine National Police Chief Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa led the awarding of the seal of drug-free provinces to Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Apayao on Oct. 6 at Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Officials of the three provinces received the award and signed the pledge of commitment along with the PNP, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health to maintain the “drug-cleared” status of the provinces through different support activities.

These activities include sports, religious and social activities in the barangay; sustainable livelihood projects as a reintegration program to former victims of drugs; counseling for the community and to the family of drug personalities and regular lectures, programs or fora on the ill-effects of drug abuse; and the implementation of measures towards drug abuse prevention.

“We pledge to continue to pursue intensified and unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs to maintain peace and order in the Cordillera,” the pledge of commitment reads.

PRO-Cordillera Director C/Supt. Elmo Francis Sarona said the three provinces were able to maintain a drug-free status since being initially declared as such in 2016.

On Dec. 31, 2016, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Apayao, Abra and Kalinga were declared as drug-cleared areas by the regional police command. However, Sarona said Abra and Kalinga were not able to maintain their status with the resurgence of illegal drug operations recently.

Only Benguet and Baguio City were not declared as drug-cleared with eight barangays still being monitored for presence of illegal drug activities — two barangays in Benguet and six barangays in Baguio City.

Dela Rosa lauded the Cordillera for its continuous efforts in the war against drugs.

“They are performing very good, they are able to clear three provinces, mahirap gawin yan. Halos 74 percent of the barangays of the whole country are drug-affected so if you are able to clear three provinces, that’s good enough compared to other regions,” Dela Rosa said. 

“Iyong ibang regions wala pa kahit isang munisipyo man lang,  wala silang na-clear. Ang clearing nila hanggang barangay lang, and then here comes Cordillera with three provinces drug-cleared so very good ‘yan na accomplishment,” he added.

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