5 more barangays in Caloocan declared drug-free
Five more barangays in Caloocan City have been declared drug-free, bringing the total to six out of 188 barangays.
The five latest additions, according to documents shown to the Inquirer, were Barangays 13, 44, 48, 96 and 103. They joined Barangay 61 which was declared cleared of illegal drugs in March.
As recognition, the barangays were issued certificates signed by Wilkins Villanueva, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) National Capital Region office, on Aug. 25.
The certificates were awarded more than a week after members of the Caloocan City Police Community Precinct 7 conducted an anticriminality operation in Barangay 160 that led to the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos on Aug. 16.
According to policemen, the Grade 12 student fired at them, leading to a shootout. Their claim, however, was refuted by witnesses and the footage taken by a closed-circuit television camera which showed them dragging away the unresisting teenager before he was killed. His death consequently sparked widespread condemnation of alleged abuses being committed in the ongoing war on drugs, resulting in a Senate inquiry.
All six of the barangays were declared drug-free under the supervision of Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, the Caloocan police chief at that time. He was later relieved over Delos Santos’ death but not before the city police station was cited as the best in Metro Manila by the National Capital Region Police Office.
The awarding was held at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, on Aug. 18, just hours after two Caloocan policemen gunned down in a shootout 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz for reportedly robbing a taxi driver.
Autopsy results, however, showed torture marks on Arnaiz’s body. The taxi driver, Tomas Bagcal, would later surface and say that he had captured the teen alive with the help of bystanders and turned him over to the police.
A barangay is declared drug-free when it complies with the requirements listed under Section 8 of the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3.
These include the absence of drug pushers and users, a drug laboratory, warehouse or drug den on top of the active involvement of barangay officials to combat illegal drugs.
Caloocan’s six drug-free barangays account for a total of 5,820 residents, according to the 2015 population census.
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