BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR) reported that there are already 136 drug affected barangays in the region with shabu as the main illegal drug being traded in the said areas.
Joseph Calulut, PDEA-CAR public information officer, said the drug affected barangays had been subjected to thorough assessment and evaluation before they were classified as drug affected pursuant to standards being imposed by the agency.
Abra topped the local governments with the most number of drug affected barangays at 36 followed by Baguio City with 32.
Calulut added Benguet, Ifugao and Kalinga had 17 drug affected barangays each, Apayao recorded 13 drug affected barangays while Mountain Province registered the least drug affected barangays with only 4.
“We continue to intensify our anti-drug operations to help reduce the supply and demand for illegal drugs regionwide. WE continue to partner with concerned stakeholders for us to be able to gain headway in our efforts to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs that compromise the bright future of the youth,” Calulut stressed.
The PDEA-CAR official revealed shabu is the common illegal drug being traded in the said areas while marijuana, which is the main illegal hemp produced in the region, is only secondary considering that it is the one being brought out of the plantation areas and given to illegal drug trades outside the region.
According to him, the reduction of the supply of illegal drugs and the demand for prohibited drugs continue to be the main program of the agency that will contribute in the eventual reduction of drug affected barangays and prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs in the communities of the region.
He admitted shabu is being shipped into the region by big-time drug personalities while marijuana is being shipped out of the region and distributed to other regions which have a high demand for the illegal hemp considering that the Cordillera produces high grade marijuana.
Drug affected barangays are those villages which have a drug pusher, a drug user and a drug trader while severely drug affected barangays have existing drug laboratories among others.
Calulut explained anti-narcotics agents have strengthened their ties with barangay officials for them to be able to easily identify drug personalities in their respective areas of jurisdiction that will result to the earlier implementation of anti-drug operations that would contribute in curbing the proliferation of illegal drugs in the various places.
Marijuana thrives best in the far flung communities of Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province as well as their tri-boundaries with La Union and Ilocos Sur.
Calulut appealed to various sectors in the different parts of the region to cooperate in the implementation of anti-illegal drug operations in their respective places so that personalities involved in the illegal drug trade will be neutralized while the illegal drug supply will be reduced for the benefit of safer place to live in.