Postponing the holding of barangay elections will only worsen the drug situation in Central Visayas since those barangay officials involved in the shabu business could further perpetuate their illegal activities, according to the assessment by a high-ranking official from the regional PNP Office during a chance interview yesterday.
The official, who requested not to be named because he does not want to appear questioning the wisdom of Congress, told The Bohol Tribune yesterday that he has noticed a resurgence of new breed of drug personalities, who are incumbent barangay officials, some of whom have taken over drug operations of slain big-time drug lords.
The observation came following the September 2, 2017 arrest of a barangay captain in Borbon town, Cebu in which the suspect yielded several packs of shabu worth more than P300,000, high-powered firearms, and P140,000 cash.
According to the police official, the Tokhang project of President Rodrigo Duterte has been compromised since the time it was launched due to the involvement of some barangay officials in the illegal drug trade.
In March this year, Duterte disclosed that 40% of all the barangay captains in the country are involved in drugs.
“Forty percent of the total barangay captains are into drugs. That’s my problem,” Duterte said last March.
“Do not commit the mistake of calling elections now because narco-politics has entered into the mainstream of Philippines politics,” Duterte added.
In Central Visayas, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) revealed that based on their list, there are at least 30 barangay captains who are linked to the illegal drug trade.
The PDEA said most of these barangay captains are in Cebu. The agency did not indicate how many of those officials are from Bohol and Siquijor.
LATEST DATA ON WAR ON DRUGS
As of September 1, 2017, a total of 170 drug dens and clandestine shabu laboratories have so far been dismantled by authorities even as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, for the nth time, reiterated his resolve to relentlessly continue his campaign against illegal drugs in the country.
In its monthly update on “#RealNumbers,” the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday announced that 161 drug dens and nine clandestine shabu laboratories have been destroyed. The period covered is from June 2016 to August 2017.
Over the same period, some PHP18.63 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized from these operations.
As of August 29, 2017, a total of 2,465.65 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as “shabu,” with an estimated street value of PHP12.7 billion, were seized.
PDEA said authorities also arrested 107,156 individuals involved in illegal drugs from July 2016 to Aug. 29, 2017.
Included in the total are 376 government workers — 167 of them elected officials, 33 uniformed personnel, and 176 government employees.
Around 70,854 anti-illegal drugs operations by joint law enforcement agencies were conducted during the period.
As of Aug. 29, 2017, the consolidated report showed that 3,811 drug suspects have died during operations.
Meanwhile, 289 law enforcers were either killed or injured in anti-drug operations — 76 were killed in action and at least 213 officers were reported injured.
Aside from PDEA, the agencies involved in the fight against illegal drugs include the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), among others.
CALLS FOR BARANGAY, SK ELECTION
On the other hand, the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has called on the Duterte administration to abide by the constitutional process by pushing through the scheduled barangay election in October this year.
Namfrel said the plan to appoint barangay officials would likely create chaos as the process would strip people of their electoral right.
To deal with the drug problem in the barangays, Namfrel has provided the following suggestions to the national government.
“To address the drug-problem in the barangay, Comelec can partner with agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to vet applicants and screen candidates who have documented links in illegal drug trade as they file their candidacy. Those found guilty of criminal offenses or have a string of administrative complaints, especially if these are drug related, should be flagged and his/her application be rejected,” the organization said.
“While the Comelec may not have the power to disqualify those with suspected drug links without a guilty ruling, those guilty with final judgment for criminal acts – among them drug-related, can be disqualified from running. This will ensure that the final list of candidates contain upright and qualified candidates. While tedious due to the number of applicants, the Comelec can utilize its intelligence funds and can crowdsource this vetting by involving their local Comelec offices in partnership with the local community/groups for validation,” it added.
NO DRUG-FREE BARANGAY
Earlier, in July this year, the PDEA Office in Bohol revealed in a radio interview that all the 1,109 barangays in Bohol are not drug-cleared yet.
PDEA agent Ma. Chona Engam said that based on the criteria set by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DBB), there are 14 parameters that must be observed before a barangay can be declared drug-free.
DBB Board Regulation No. 2, Series of 2007, provides the following parameters for declaring drug-cleared status of drug-affected barangays, namely,
- Non-availability of drug supply;
- Absence of drug transit/transshipment activity;
- Absence of clandestine drug laboratory;
- Absence of clandestine drug warehouse;
- Absence of clandestine chemical warehouse;
- Absence of marijuana cultivation site;
- Absence of drug den, dive or resort;
- Absence of drug pusher;
- Absence of drug user/dependent;
- Absence of protector/ coddler and financier;
- Active involvement of barangay officials in anti-drug activities;
- Active involvement of SK to help maintain the drug-liberated status of the barangay;
- Existence of drug awareness, preventive education and information, and other related programs; and
- Existence of voluntary and compulsory drug treatment & rehabilitation processing desk.
In March this year, in Bohol, the Philippine National Police revealed that only 165 Bohol barangays are declared cleared of drugs
Of the total 1,109 barangays, only 165 barangays in the province of Bohol are cleared of drugs by Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC), so far, after almost nine months in war on illegal drugs, police authorities said.
Ninety-four villages are cleared by Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) and only 17 said to be unaffected of the total 1,109 barangays in the province, Police Superintendent George Vale, chief Police Community Relations Office of Bohol Provincial Police Office said in intercview with dyTR last week.
This came as police, agencies concerned and provincial government launched last week the so-called Community-Based Rehabilation Without Walls forum attended by district barangay officials held at Bohol Cultural Center here where Vale attended.
In 1st District, there was 38 of the 327 barangays are cleared by BADAC; 30 barangays by MADAC and six (6) drug un-affected.
The most of these BADAC-cleared barangays is in Tubigon with 10. This is followed by Sikatuna and Loon towns with 8 apiece; Catigbian, 6; Cortes 3; Panglao 2; and Baclayon, one.
MADAC-cleared are the following towns: Maribojoc, 8; Antequera, 7; Corella, 6; Alburquerque, 3; and Baclayon, Balilihan and Calape, two apiece.
Drugs unaffected barangays in the district are situated four in Loon town and one each in Antequera.
In 2nd District there are 346 barangays, 59 barangays cleared by BADAC, 25 barangays cleared by MADAC and 2 barangays are drug un-affected.
BADAC-cleared barangays in second district are in Trinidad with 20; Carlos P. Garcia, 13; San Miguel, 7; Talibon, 5; Clarin, 4; Sagbayan, 3; Getafe and Inabanga, two apiece; and Dagohoy and San Miguel, one apiece. MADAC-cleared are Sagbayan, 8 barangays; Buenavista, 7; Bien-Unido, 4; Clarin, Danao and San Isidro, two apiece.
Only two barangays in Dagohoy and CPG in the district remained to be unaffected.
In 3rd District with a total of 436 barangays, 67 are BADAC-cleared; 40 MADAC-cleared; and nine unaffected.
BADAC-cleared barangays in Dimiao, 19; Anda, 12; Candijay. 10; Valencia, 9; Alicia, 4; Lila and Loboc, three apiece; Jagna and Bilar, 2 apiece; and Guindulman, Pilar, Sierra-Bullones, one apiece.
The town of Batuan had 15 barangayd; Alicia and Mabini, 9, apiece; Sierra Bullones, 3; and Anda ug Duero, one apiece, are MADAC-cleared.
Drug-unaffected of 3rd district totaled 9. Anda and Garcia-Hernandez had three apiece; and Alicia, Duero, and Loboc, one apiece.
Police said, earlier, that 96.6 percent of Bohol’s barangays (1,109) are badly affected by illegal drugs, either slightly, moderately or seriously affected. (with reports from Ric Obedencio of PNA, ABS-CBN and Sun-Star)