The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency(PDEA) through its Samar office headed by Leonard Obong and Calbayog police led by city police chief Supt. Mateo Macale conducted a buy-bust operation in Calbayog City that resulted to the arrest of Mark Magbutay at Purok 7, Barangay Hamorawon,Calbayog who was in possession of two sachets of shabu, a Cal.9 mm pistol and an improvised gun.Photo shows barangay chairman Ben Camarines (right) and Elaine Lim from Radyo ng Bayan sign the documents as witnesses of the anti-drug operations. (HENRY PUYAT)

TACLOBAN CITY- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) declared as drug-free 17 barangays of Mahaplag town in Leyte.
The declaration, made on September 25 in a simple ceremony, could now make Mahaplag as the first town in Leyte to be declared as a drug-free municipality, said Alex Tablate, chief of PDEA-8’s operations division.
Mahaplag has 28 barangays wherein only 17 of its villages have been tagged by PDEA as drug-influenced areas.
“As of now, we are waiting for the documentary requirements which must be submitted by the unaffected barangays in order for Mahaplag to be declared as a drug-free municipality,”Tablate said.
“Hopefully in the next few weeks, we can declare Mahaplag as the first drug-free municipality in the province of Leyte,” he added.
Once the documentary requirements as required under the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3 are met, the members of an oversight committee composed of the PDEA, Philippine National Police, Department of Interior and Local Government and other agencies will convene to declare Mahaplag as a drug-free municipality.
Tablate said that Mahaplag and their police were very supportive in the implementation of their barangay drug clearing operations reason why they did not encounter any difficulties in validating the villages whether they are drug influenced or not.
However, if a drug personality will be arrested in a barangay declared as drug-free, it will be given 30 days to act upon the reported illegal drug activities so that this will not affect the declaration of their municipality as drug-free, Tablate said.
Under the DDB Regulation No. 3 series of 2017, barangays were given the full responsibility to maintain their areas as drug-free villages but with the assistance of PDEA, PNP and other stakeholders.
The PDEA had earlier declared as drug-free the towns of General McArthur and Maslog, both in Eastern Samar and Limasawa, Southern Leyte.