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PDEA aims for 24,000 villages cleared of drugs by 2022.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has vowed to eliminate the illegal drug trade in 24,000 villages across the country by 2022.

Aaron Aquino, director general of the PDEA, said that the 24,424 villages represent 58.10 percent of the country's villages that are 'still plagued by the drug menace.'

Out of the 24,424 drug-affected barangays, Aquino said that 15,290 were classified as 'slightly affected,' 9,089 were 'moderately affected,' while 45 barangays were 'seriously affected.'

In achieving the target, Aquino said that the agency aims to clear a projected average of 617 barangays per month.

'PDEA is faced with many challenges, foremost is thousands of barangays have yet to activate its Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) while almost the same rate of local government units has inactive municipal and local anti-drug abuse councils,' Aquino said in a statement on Thursday.

The PDEA chief said assistance from the Philippine National Police (PNP), local health offices and local social welfare offices was imperative in clearing the villages of drugs.

'We are happy that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), particularly the Office of Assistant Secretary Rico Judge Echiverri, is in constant cooperation with us and committed that they will help in the activation of all BADACs and ADACs in the whole country,' Aquino said.

The National Capital Region (NCR), Aquino noted, has the highest rate of village 'drug-affectation' with 95.37 percent. It was followed by Zamboanga Peninsula at 93.47 percent, Central Visayas at 88.78 percent, Central Luzon at 84.01 percent and CARAGA at 82.38 percent, he said.

The regions least affected by illegal drugs, meanwhile, were the Bicol Region at 16.59 percent and the Cordillera Administrative Region at 0.68 percent, the PDEA chief added.

'PDEA is setting the bar high. We intend to clear an average of 6,000 drug-affected barangays every year for the next four years. If we can sustain the pace, we can rid the country's drug problem by 2022 and maintain the drug-free status,' Aquino said. /je

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 1, 2018
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