PDEA: San Miguel now cleared of illegal drugs
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San Miguel town has become the first drug-cleared municipality in Catanduanes following a declaration from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional director last week.

PDEA Bicol Director Christian Frivaldo made the announcement before Mayor Francisco Camano Jr., municipal and barangay officials last Oct. 4, 2019 during the blessing and inauguration of the town’s Balay Silangan Reformation Program facility at Patio de San Miguel.

As chairman of the Regional Oversight Committee on the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program, Frivaldo issued the certificate to the mayor, attesting that the town’s 24 barangays had completed the requirements on Barangay Clearing set forth by Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3, series of 2017.

The PDEA official also gave a certificate of appreciation to the chief executive in recognition of his untiring support in the implementation of the Balay Silangan Program, with his effort significantly contributing to the strengthening of the partnership and cooperation among stakeholders and in the promotion of the national anti-drug program.

In thanking Camano and the members of the Community-Based Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (CBTRP) Core Team, Dir. Frivaldo urged them to keep inspiring PDEA so that the agency would continue to work in bringing victims of illegal drugs back to their families as human beings.

Conceding that he has been described by mayors as strict in implementing the barangay drug clearing program, he said the operation is difficult but its success depends on political will, needs less talk but more action.

“This is our way of embracing our lost loved ones back to the community as productive citizens to enjoy life,” Frivaldo stressed, adding that anti-drug operations is not about killing suspects but rehabilitating them.

On the other hand, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Uldarico Razal Jr. told San Miguel local officials that it would be difficult to maintain a drug-cleared status but community involvement will ensure its success and sustain the achievements through the years.

He expressed hope that the other 10 local government units would follow suit in engaging total community participation in the campaign to reduce supply and demand for illegal drugs.

Razal disclosed that in an orientation workshop on Executive Order 66 that institutionalizes the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy, one of the provisions require a drug-free workplace in all government agencies, including LGUs.

“Any official or employee found to be using drugs after a mandatory drug testing will face automatic dismissal from service as drug use is a grave misconduct,” he bared, adding that no advance information will be given regarding the conduct of the drug testing.

Razal said that there are local officials and employees who are involved in illegal drugs and all local chief executive and agency heads are mandated to pcreate assessment teams for the Drug-Free Workplace campaign.

In his response, Mayor Camano lauded the CBTRP core team for their exemplary effort, particularly since it needed strict monitoring of barangay captains in the anti-drug campaign.

He said that at the recent meeting at the PDEA regional office, he manifested that the town be declared drug-cleared as it only needed the assessment of the Balay Silangan facility to be compliant with the DDB’s guidelines.

At the start, he told the Tribune, 18 of the 24 barangays were evaluated by the police as drug-affected but he and core team managed to convince the barangay officials to cooperate with the municipality.

“The program does not end here, as every day will be a challenge,” Camano reminded his fellow public servants and stakeholders, warning repeat offenders and violators that they will face the full force of the law.

He lamented the fact the government has been spending so much in the anti-drug campaign instead of allocating it to much-needed development projects.

Assuring the PDEA of further improvement in the campaign, Mayor Camano said his administration will monitor those still involved in illegal drugs, especially those who did not surrender during Oplan Tokhang.

Representing Catanduanes police provincial director Col. Paul Abay, Maj. Danilo Tenerife expressed the PNP’s sustained support for the barangay drug-clearing operation and urged barangay officials to help the police organization in the effort.

1Lt. Hiponia also communicated the Army’s support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, saying that the scourge of illegal drugs affects the nation’s dream to achieve total peace and development.

A teary-eyed former drug user, Larry Teleb, thanked the national agencies and the LGU for helping him and fellow former drug users to correct their ways and reform their lives. He said drug addiction is a disease that affects not only the user but also his family and the community.

Chaired by MSWDO Templonuevo and Municipal Health Officer Dr. Lilian Olfindo, the CBTRP Core Team counts as members PSSG Balin, Nurse II Edgar Bañas, Medical Technologist II Venia Gapaz, NDP nurse Roderick Bonifacio and Jose Leonardo Jr., MSWDO staff Marilou Bernal and Andrew Bernal, with Mayor Camano as adviser.


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