MAASIN CITY– The province of Southern Leyte has sustained its drug-cleared status since it was pronounced by the regional oversight committee on April 17, 2018, according to Eduardo Makabenta, provincial head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Speaking as guest during the radio program Kapihan sa PIA live over DYDM on Friday, January 13, Makabenta reported that during the assessment of the various anti-drug abuse councils last year covering the year 2021, 13 out of 19 local government units in the province garnered 100 points hence they were awarded in ceremonies organized by DILG in Manila in December last year.

These included the municipalities of Anahawan, Hinunangan, Hinundayan, Libagon, Liloan, Macrohon, Malitbog, Padre Burgos, San Francisco, San Ricardo, Silago, Sogod, and Tomas Oppus.

Makabenta expressed confidence more LGUs will be cited this year for the 2022 assessment, since all the 500 barangays in the province have maintained their drug-cleared status, and that they had undergone community-based anti-illegal drug advocacy and drug-free workplace program orientation in 252 barangays.

In addition, some 121 individuals have been trained last year for the multi-sectoral training of trainers (TOT) and they were the ones, working by team of at least 12 persons, who conducted and will continue to conduct information drive on the evils of illegal drugs down to the barangays, Makabenta shared.

He added that these TOTs were already done in eight (8) LGUs last year, in Anahawan, Hinunangan, Bontoc, Pintuyan, Sogod, Tomas Oppus, Padre Burgos, and the city of Maasin, and this year, more LGUs have signified their intention to organize TOTs in their localities.
Makabenta clarified that a drug-free status did not mean the place has been rid of illegal drugs, for it means the supply and demand of the vice was regularly checked.

In fact, since the drug-cleared declaration in 2018, PDEA and police elements had conducted a total of 260 drug-related buy-bust operations which resulted to 14 incidents of suspects being neutralized, Makabenta reported. (LDL/MMP/PIA Southern Leyte)