Tacloban named first Drug Cleared Highly Urbanized City in the Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY (CIO) – Tacloban City became the first Highly Urbanized City (HUC) in the Visayas to be declared drug cleared on Monday, December 4, 2017 when the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Clearing Operations issued a certification stating that the City is drug-free after complying with the parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez received the certification from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Edgar Jubay and members of the oversight committee which included representatives from the Department of Health, Philippine National Police and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The Chief Executive credited the drug-free status of the City to the concerted efforts of drug enforcement agencies, anti-drug groups and the New Beginnings Rehabilitation Program of the local government.
New Beginnings was the first local government rehab program implemented in Region 8 after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a decisive campaign on illegal drugs at the start of his administration.
To date, nearly 5,000 individuals have voluntarily surrendered to the Program which is in coordination with the MASA MASID (acronym for Mamayang Ayaw Sa Anomalya, Mamayang Ayaw sa Droga) and Double Barrel Reloaded of the DILG and Philippine National Police.
Mayor Romualdez also underscored the need to sustain the drug clear status of the barangays; and reiterated the hardline stance of the City Government on illegal drugs.
She added that as a matter of policy, random drug tests of City Hall employees are being conducted.
The declaration meant that Tacloban met all 14 parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation 3, Series of 2017, such as the non-availability of drug supply, absence of drug den, pusher, and 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.
All 138 barangays of Tacloban underwent a thorough and rigid scrutiny of the requirements, as well as verification and validation processes conducted by the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing Operations prior to the declaration said Jubay.
He added that the agency did not merely rely on hearsay and intelligence reports but conducted actual “test buy” and buy bust operations to confirm reports.
Meanwhile, coinciding with the event was the blessing of the new PDEA RO VIII Tacloban City Office located at the 2nd floor of the Tacloban City Convention Center (Astrodome). According to PDEA, the office will be operational twenty four hours daily – Henry James G. Roca