TACLOBAN CITY – At least 2,768 villages in Eastern Visayas have been declared as drug-cleared after local authorities managed to get rid of the drug trade and use in their communities, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported.

In a press briefing, PDEA 8 (Eastern Visayas) information officer Rogelette Urgel said these villages, previously tagged as drug-affected, passed the parameters set by the national government to gain the status.

Of the 2,768 villages, 108 are in Biliran province, 984 in Leyte, 127 in Tacloban City, 81 in Ormoc City, 463 in Southern Leyte, 385 in Eastern Samar, 265 in Northern Samar, and 355 in Samar province.

A drug-cleared barangay (village) refers to a village previously classified as drug-affected but underwent the drug-clearing program and declared as drug-cleared by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing.

“A drug-cleared village doesn’t mean illegal drugs can no longer be found in the community. What it means is that the previous drug situation has changed for the better with the proactive measures of local officials,” Urgel told reporters.

A village earns the drug-cleared status if there is no presence of active drug users, pushers, drug den maintained, coddler protector, financier, cultivator, manufacturer, and others.

Other criteria are the regular conduct of house visitation and monitoring to identify drug personalities and the provision of appropriate intervention to drug users and pushers.
The region has 4,360 villages with 2,768 tagged as drug-cleared, 157 affected, 70 unaffected, and 1,365 as drug-free. (PNA)