DILG: Only 18 Iloilo barangays not drug-free

DILG-Iloilo Director Carmelo F. Orbista. (Rjay Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Only 18 of the 1,721 barangays in the province of Iloilo are yet to be declared drug-cleared under the government’s Barangay Drug Clearing Program, the Department of Interior and Local Government-Iloilo said.

DILG-Iloilo director Carmelo F. Orbista confirmed this to the media on the sidelines of the Punong Barangay Nutrition Congress of the province on Wednesday, April 10.

“The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police  (PNP), and our provincial government are helping us that these 18 barangays will be declared free from anti-narcotics,” he said.

Orbista mentioned that eight of the barangays are from the town of Oton.

The remaining 18 barangays are targeted to be declared drug-cleared before 2025, according to Orbista.

“The PDEA is helping us with this since we have documents that still need to be obtained from the Malacañang and in their national office,”

A drug-cleared barangay is classified as previously drug-affected, then subjected to drug clearing operation, and eventually declared free from any illegal drug activities.

For barangays that are already drug-cleared, Orbista said they continuously apply for retention with the regional oversight committee.

Amid reports that some barangay officials in the province have suspected links to illegal drugs, Orbista said the list is with the PNP and PDEA and they are continuously verifying it.

“We have a strong coordination with the PDEA and PNP to identify and monitor barangay officials for possible involvement in illegal drugs,” he said.

Orbista furthered that local DILG offices are also actively collaborating with local anti-drug abuse councils on the proper monitoring of drug-related incidents.