BALER, Aurora – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has asked the local officials and other stakeholders here to keep the town and the whole province cleared of illegal drugs.
PDEA regional director Lyndon Aspacio cited the importance of collaborative efforts by the local and other concerned government officials as well as the residents to maintain the drug-cleared status.
“It is the legacy of our local officials to the next generation and I am hoping that Baler and the whole province could maintain it. The work is not yet over. The challenge is to maintain the whole province drug-cleared,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday
Aspacio, together with PDEA provincial officer Roy Castillo, visited the Aurora town capital to hand over the certificate of drug cleared municipality to Baler Mayor Rhett Ronan Angara and to the anti-drug abuse council in a simple ceremony at Centro Baler Sports Complex in Barangay Suklayin.
Baler is the last town in the province that was declared drug-cleared.
“The last town in this province that completed the requirements is Baler. Due to the hardship and commitment of the police and local officials, we declared this town drug-cleared since the last drug pusher is no longer residing in this town,” Aspacio said.
To be declared as drug-cleared, he said the province must comply with all the requirements set forth by the Dangerous Drugs Board Resolution No.3, series of 2017 which include non-availability of drug supply; absence of drug-dependent, pusher, user, absence of clandestine drug laboratory; active involvement of barangay officials in anti-drug activities; existence of drug awareness, preventive education, and information; and existence of voluntary and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desk.
However, he said in case a drug pusher comes back, the police are only given 30 days to solve it or else the drug-cleared status will be lifted.
The PDEA regional director also gave the certificate of recognition and commendation to Capt. Ferdinand Usita, chief of police of Baler Municipal Police Station and Col. Raul Siriban, director of the Aurora Police Provincial Office.
“Your fight is just beginning. Your fight is not yet over. This is not the end of our war on drugs but just a beginning to keep the drug-cleared status,” Aspacio said.
Usita vowed to continue their unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs for a peaceful and safe environment.
“We will not rest. We will not stop. Instead, we will continue to monitor our town and strengthen to the fullest efforts our advocacy campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.
Siriban said it has been a long road for them to attain the status.
“Maintaining the status of drug-cleared municipality requires another vigorous work. What makes it harder is that this high achievement means high expectations from the community we are serving. That is why we all need to work with dedication, sustainability, and continuity,” he added.
Meanwhile, Angara said he is happy in the declaration of Baler as a drug-cleared municipality.
“I am giving my salutation to President Duterte on his war on drugs. We could not achieve this without the help of the PNP, PDEA, barangay officials, among others. Malaking bagay ito dahil ang droga ay salot sa lipunan. Dahil sa war on drugs ni Pangulong Duterte natigil ang droga sa Baler at sa buong lalawigan. This is a big challenge for us. Basta sama-sama, kayang kaya ang problema. (This is a big thing because drug is a plague in the society. Because of the war on drugs by President Duterte, the illegal drug activities in Baler and the whole province stopped. This is a big challenge for us. Together, we can solve the problem),” he said.
Baler Vice Mayor Pedro Ong Jr. is also thankful for having chief executive like President Duterte who is determined to fight illegal drugs.
“Our President is the one who has a genuine concern to the people,” Ong said.
He also cited the vital role of the barangay officials and the residents to maintain the drug-cleared status of this town since they are the ones who can immediately see if in case there are illegal drug activities.
“The only thing that you have to do is timely information that you have to give to the authorities,” he added. (PNA)