26 villages in Lucena declared ‘drug free’
LUCENA CITY –– At least 26 out of 33 villages in this capital city of Quezon province have been declared “drug- free,” the head of the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) said Friday.
Francia Britania Malabanan, Cadac chief, identified the seven remaining villages that have been undergoing drug clearing operations as Barangay 8, 10, Market View, Ilayang Iyam, Ibabang Iyam, Ibabang Dupay and Cotta.
Malabanan attributed the successful drug clearing operations to the combined efforts of Cadac, police, barangay officials, and local government.
“Since day one, the local government has only one focus – liberate the city from the clutches of illegal drugs and unchain the drug users and pushers from the social menace,” Malabanan said.
Ironically, Lucena Mayor Roderick Alcala has been tagged by President Duterte as a “narco-politician.” But Alcala vehemently denied the allegation.
Malabanan said from at least 4,163 drug surrenderers, more than 200 validated peddlers of illegal drugs, have submitted themselves to local government rehabilitation projects and programs for PWUDs or people who use drugs since 2016.
Malabanan said most drug victims wanted to reform, prompting the city government to provide programs for their rehabilitation and alternative livelihood.
Before declaring that a barangay is free from illegal drug activities, the authorities 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 pusher, and user.
Lt. Colonel Romulo Albacea, Lucena police chief, admitted that there were occasional arrests of suspected drug pushers and users in some drug-free villages.
Albacea explained that pushers and users from other barangays transact their illegal trade in areas that have been cleared with the belief that they could conduct their business unmolested.
“But they were wrong. After a barangay has been declared drug-free, the place is left under the watchful eyes of concerned and committed villagers, barangay officials and tanods,” Albacea said.
He estimated that since the start of the Duterte administration, the city’s drug problems have been down to less than 30 percent.
“Once more, I am appealing to the few remaining drug pushers and users to stop their illegal activities and submit themselves for rehabilitation. Because, we will not stop in our campaign,” he warned local drug victims.
He said more than 60 suspected drug pushers, who reportedly fought with policemen to resist arrests, were killed since 2016.
Albacea said the local police has been actively pursuing its “Oplan Magilas,” a massive anti-criminality campaign in the city to flush out the few remaining drug victims in the seven villages.
Edited by LZB
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