Lapeña: Batanes first drug-cleared province

BATANES was officially declared by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after verification and validation as the first drug-cleared province in the country last June 2 in simple ceremony in the Human Resource Training Center (HRTC) of the Provincial Capitol.

The formal declaration ceremony was led by no less than the PDEA Director-General Isidro Lapeña, who came all the way from Manila to Batanes together with the PDEA Regional Director (RD) Laurefel Gabales, the Philippine National Police (PNP) RD C/Supt Robert G. Quenery, and the Provincial Governor Marilou H. Cayco.

“You are the first in the country to be declared as drug-cleared and that will form part of the history in our fight against drugs,” said Lapeña at the start of his message during the ceremony.

The declaration was made after the Batanes Police Provincial Office (BPPO) and the provincial, municipal, and barangay local government units (LGUs) successfully conformed to all the parameters set forth in the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3, Series of 2017 on Barangay Drug Clearing Program.

As stated in the Board Regulation, a barangay may be declared “drug-cleared” if there is non-availability of drug supply; absence of drug transit/transhipment activity; absence of clandestine drug laboratory; absence of clandestine drug and chemical warehouse; absence of marijuana cultivation site; absence of drug den, drug pushers, dependents, protector, and financier; active involvement of Sanggunian Kabataan in maintaining 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 and rehabilitation processing desk.

All the 29 barangay of the six municipalities of Batanes complied with the parameters set forth in the DDB Regulation.

“Batanes is the perfect epitome of honest to goodness drug-cleared province,” commented C/Supt Quenery.

Governor Cayco acknowledged that the success of the declaration was a result of the shared responsibility of the government agencies, the LGUs, and the community. She expressed her commitment in keeping the province a drug-free and peaceful place for all Ivatan. ●

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