(Infographics from #RealNumbers Facebook page)

MANILA – More than 18,000 barangays across the country have already been cleared from illegal drugs since the start of the Duterte administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs in 2016, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Tuesday.

Based on infographics posted on the #RealNumbersPH Facebook page, at least 18,582 out of the 42,045 barangays (villages) in the country have been declared drug-cleared as of March 31.

Meanwhile, a total of 15,388 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs.

PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon earlier said that before declaring barangay free from illegal drug activities, the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) must convene and validate the non-availability of drug supply in the area and the absence of drug transit activity, clandestine drug laboratory and chemical warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den, drug pushers and users.

He said the activation of Barangay Drug Abuse Councils, or BADACs, is very crucial in the success of the implementation of the campaign.

In partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), PDEA conducted training-orientation to local government units (LGUs) all over the country on measures and indicators on declaring drug-cleared barangays.

Carreon said aligned with President’s vision of a drug-cleared country by 2022, PDEA intensified the implementation of the Barangay Drug Clearing Campaign.

He added that PDEA, as the lead agency against illegal drugs, adopted a three-pronged strategy in the national anti-drug campaign which focuses on reducing its supply, demand and harmful effects.

Meanwhile, a total of 9,164 high-value targets (HVTs) were arrested from July 1, 2016 to March. 31, 2020.

The figure included 3,623 HVTs arrested from high impact operations, 2,637 target-listed suspects, 733 drug group leaders/members, 356 government employees, 317 elected officials, 235 foreigners, 215 included on wanted lists, 87 uniformed personnel, 61 armed group members and 10 prominent personalities.

Authorities also arrested 235,030 individuals involved in illegal drugs during the said period.

As of March 2020, the consolidated report showed that 5,655 drug suspects have died during 162,685 anti-illegal drug operations.

From July 2016 to March 2020, authorities also rescued 3,085 minors involved in illegal drug activities. This includes 1,719 pushers; 822 possessors; 372 users; 150 drug den visitors; 11 drug den employees, eight drug den maintainers, two cultivators, and a runner.

In the same period, a total of 555,314 drug surrenderers attended and completed recovery programs.

Authorities also dismantled a total of 536 drug dens and 14 clandestine shabu laboratories and seized PHP42.85 billion worth of illegal drugs, which includes PHP33.49 billion worth of shabu. (PNA)