Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday challenged the different barangays of Bacolod City to aim to be classified as drug-free barangays.
Leonardia, who chairs the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council, issued the challenge during the first day of the two-day orientation-training for Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) on barangay drug-clearing program conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Bacolod, at Middle Town Inn in Bacolod yesterday.
As of now, only Barangay 5 has been declared as drug-free although there are about 10 waiting in line. But the effort should be continued and intensified, so more barangays in Bacolod will be classified as drug-free, he said.
Leonardia said he believes that this is the best time to pursue the campaign against illegal drugs in extreme because the President is passionate about the problem.
He also pointed out to the barangay officials that Bacolod had been chosen to host the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADAIT) celebration last June and has been among the first city to be visited by the composite team of drug authorities for the launching of “Rehabinasyon” last March.
Leonardia said Bacolod is also one of the few cities that received a P10 million grant from the Dangerous Drugs Board for the construction of the Bacolod City Drug Rehabilitation Center in Alijis, and that the project is about to commence.
It is also one of the four cities in the country being eyed by the PDEA for the implementation of the Balay Silangan Reformation Program, he said.
Leonardia also requested the barangays, that have a big role in the campaign against illegal drugs, to try to achieve much more towards the end of solving the drug problem in the city.
Thirty out of the 61 barangays attended the first day of the orientation-training yesterday while the remaining half will attend the second day today.
DILG-Bacolod director, Ma. Joy Maredith Madayag, said they hope that, after the orientation-training, barangay officials will be more capacitated and dedicated in fighting illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said he asked a high-ranking official of PDEA, the assistant regional police director and city police director, if they know of any barangay official in Bacolod who is involved in illegal drugs that the President was referring to during his recent visit to Bacolod.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued a warning against a barangay official to stop his involvement in illegal drugs during his speech at the MassKara Festival.
Leonardia said he also asked DDB chairman Catalino Cuy if he knows anyone, but, as of the moment, he could not give an answer.
He said they are still in the stage of trying to find out who is the person being referred to by the President.
He will encourage city employees to undergo mandatory drug testing, or random drug tests, if the budget of the city allows. They can start with the barangay captains, he added.*
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