87.7% of Bicol villages affected by drug scourge now 'clear'

The Police Regional Office (PRO) in Bicol said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency or PDEA has declared as “drug-clear” 87.8 percent of the total number of barangays (villages) in Bicol which are deemed as affected by the illegal drug problem.

Sr. Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said at the start of Oplan Tokhang on July 1, 2016, PDEA had deemed 578 villages out of the total 3,471 in Bicol as “drug-affected” or beset by the drug menace.

“Of the 578 villages deemed as drug-affected, 508 villages or 87.8 percent had been declared as ‘drug-clear’ by PDEA as of May 10,” she said.

Calubaquib said in the three provinces of Camarines Norte, Masbate, Sorsogon and Naga City, the total 260 drug-affected villages had been declared as now 100 percent “drug-clear.”

She said in Camarines Norte, there were 81 drug affected villages declared as drug-clear, Masbate - 66, Sorsogon - 98, and Naga City - 15.

Calubaquib said in the three other Bicol provinces, the number of drug-affected villages declared as “drug-clear” are: Albay — 68, Camarines Sur — 142, and Catanduanes – 38.

She said this means that the remaining number of drug-affected villages in Bicol, which have yet to be declared as drug-clear are in Albay: 37 villages, Camarines Sur — 22, and Catanduanes — 11 or a total of 70 villages.

“The 70 villages represent 12.7 percent of the total number of drug-affected villages in Bicol,” she added.

Calubaquib also noted that out of the 70,659 surrendered drug users in the Bicol region, 1,107 had been enrolled in community-based rehabilitation programs with 191 reported as having graduated from the program.

She said there were also 20 drug users categorized as “severe” cases, who were committed to two private rehabilitation centers and two public rehab centers in the region.

“They are still undergoing the process of rehabilitation and detoxification,” she added.

Records from Camp Gen. Simeon Ola showed that from July 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017, there were 77,161 (male-73,361, female-3,800) drug surrenderers.

Of the drug surrenderers, 6,509 were pushers and 70,659 users. (PNA)