The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is monitoring elected government officials and media personalities in Negros Occidental for alleged links to illegal drugs, PDEA Negros Occidental officer-in-charge Jose Tomabini Jr., said yesterday.
However, he could not give the total number of mediamen and government officials with such alleged involvements.
The monitoring is “not limited to mayors, there are also councilors, barangay captains, and vice mayors,” Tomabini also said.
He said the monitoring on these personalities is continuous because the PDEA cannot easily gather evidence since these individuals are usually not the ones handling the illegal drugs.
Some serve as protectors and some receive payola from the drug trade, Tomabini said.
Meanwhile, eight barangays in Negros Occidental were recently declared “drug-free”, he said.
The barangays are San Juan in San Carlos City; San Juan in Binalbagan town; V.F. Gustilo, Magsaysay, Celestino Villacin, and Jerusalem all in Cadiz City; Nabali-an in Himamaylan City; and Doldol in Valladolid town.
Declaring the barangays “drug-free” means that pushers who surrendered have already done their Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program and there are no new drug personalities during a certain time frame, Tomabini said.
Once there are new personalities who penetrate the area, they will be subjected to operation and the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council will be given a grace period to remove that personality or subject him or them to community-based drug rehabilitation.
However, if even only one drug personality will not be eliminated, the declaration as “drug-free” barangay will be revoked, Tomabini said.*
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