LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Fourteen barangay officials from the conflict-stricken province of Abra who were recently included in the narco-list of President Rodrigo R. Duterte re-surrendered to police authorities and provincial officials and affirmed their all-out support to the government’s aggressive anti-drug campaign to address criminality and achieve lasting peace during simple rites at the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera, Camp Dangwa, here, Friday.
Abra Gov. Maria Jocelyn Bernos accompanied the 13 barangay officials from the different barangays of her province in their re-surrender to newly-installed PRO-COR regional director Chief Superintendent Rolando Z. Nana as they committed to be at the forefront in the government’s anti-drug campaign in their areas of jurisdiction when they assume their posts by July 1, 2018.
Initially, Bernos disclosed that there were 24 barangay officials in Abra who were included in the President’s narco-list but after the conduct of the May 14, 2018 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, there were only 14 barangay officials who were re-elected to their positions as either punong barangays or barangay kagawads.
She added that of the 14 barangay officials in the narco-list, 5 are punong barangays wherein 3 of them are unopposed while 9 are barangay kagawads.
In December 2016, Abra was declared as a drug free province but it was later elevated to drug affected province after 31 of its barangays, including the barangays where the 14 narco-politicians come from, have been evaluated and assessed to be drug affected based on the amended parameters on the classification of drug affected barangays.
For his part, Nana expressed his gratitude to the identified narco-politicians who re-surrendered and challenged them to stick to their commitment of being a partner of the government in crubing the proliferation of illegal drugs in their areas of jurisdiction to achieve the President’s goal of significantly reducing drugs in the country.
“We urge the identified narco-politicians to lead by example in their places to help erase the bad image that was imputed to them following their inclusion in the President’s drug list. We will help those who are willing to help themselves to make sure that their place will be freed from the tentacles of drug syndicates who want to ruin the image of certain areas and the bright future of the youth by distributing prohibited drugs in various parts of the country,” Nana stressed.
Bernos asserted the re-surrender of the 14 narco-politicians shows their commitment to the President’s unrelenting and uncompromising anti-drug campaign because they already underwent the required community-based rehabilitation as part of their efforts to change their ways of life aside from being subjected to stringent monitoring to check on their compliance of being drug surrenderers.
Allan Lloyd Lleano, a special agent of the Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR), explained that the delisting of the names of the earlier identified narco-politicians lies on the recommendations of the adjudication committee which will still be created to the Office of the President and it will be up to the President to rule on the proposed delisting of their names from the controversial list.
However, he admitted that the delisting will be a tedious process because its composition has yet to be named subject to the approval of the President before the process of delisting will start.
Some of the narco-politicians expressed their firm support and commitment to the government’s anti-drug campaign to ensure that prohibited drugs will not circulate in their areas of jurisdiction although it was difficult for them to adjust to the situation after their names were included in the list.
On the other hand, some of them claimed that they were nearly demoralized after the President announced their names as part of his narco-list but they exerted the necessary efforts, through the assistance of local officials and the police, to help them bring back their credibility as responsible public servants and assured that they will no longer be engaged in the use or sale of prohibited drugs and will cascade to the grassroots level the marching orders of the President to stop illegal drugs from being circulated in the different parts of the country.
After their re-surrender, the Abra narco-politicians underwent drugless that was administered by the PDEA-CAR and the PNP crime laboratory wherein results have yet to be divulged.