Lack of anti-drug councils hampers Tokhang

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa said Monday, March 12, that the government’s campaign against illegal drugs has been constrained by the lack of anti-drug abuse councils in many barangays.

Of the 42,000 barangays in the country, only 12,000 have fully functional Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) units, Dela Rosa said.

"Project Tokhang which is the centerpiece action in the lefthand effort of the anti-drug campaign, depends primarily on inputs from the BADACs on the presence and activities of drug personalities in the community," Dela Rosa said.

"Without these inputs from the BADAC, Tokhang will be ineffective in setting the demand reduction strategy into motion," he added.

He said barangay officials in areas with no active anti-drug councils should be charged for dereliction of duty pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code.

“The BADACs are the most formidable anti-drug local government bodies that can be created because of their influence on local residents and can relate to the needs of their constituents,” said Dela Rosa.

“The BADACs were deputized to plan and implement strategic policies and evaluate programs and projects on drug prevention and control, given the political and police powers of the barangays to administer the affairs of the community,” he added.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier mandated the creation of such a council in every barangay.

Meantime, Dela Rosa echoed the call of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the DILG for the electorate to no longer support re-electionist village officials who have been uncooperative of the government’s war on drugs.

He said there may be two reasons why a barangay official refuses to cooperate --- because they are involved in illegal drugs or they are afraid to go against the drugs syndicates in their area.

“Meron akong alam na barangay kapitan na pagpasok mo sa kanyang barangay hall, dalawa drawer nyan sa table ng lamesa nya. Pag-open sa kanang table nandun ‘yung sachet ng shabu. Pag-open sa kabilang drawer nandun ‘yung pera na pambayad sa droga. Patong nya ‘yung shabu ikaw naman ‘yung bumibili, shoot mo sa kaliwang drawer,” he said.

Dela Rosa said the said barangay official is among the 9,000 barangay officials who are on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drugs watch list. (SunStar Philippines)