Climaco calls on brgy execs to stay united vs illegal drugs

Mayor Beng Climaco has challenged anew all officials of the city’s 98 barangays to stay united and supportive of the government’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs.

Climaco made the call during the assembly of all Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) yesterday, honoring the five drug-cleared barangays of Dulian-Pasonanca, Capisan, Lumayang, Tigbalabag and Lanzones.

The mayor urged the barangay chairmen, being the BADAC chairs, and their members to heed the call of PDEA and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for compliance of BADAC plans and functionality requirements.

She thanked the officials of five drug-cleared barangays fore being role models and inspiration to other barangays in the fight against drugs, pursuant to the marching orders of President Duterte.

While Zamboanga City lagged behind other provinces in terms of drug-cleared barangays, Climaco stressed Zamboanga has contributed at least 80% to the overall accomplishments in the war on drugs in the region, citing the most number of highly successful buy bust operations that resulted in the confiscation of more than P50 million of shabu and the arrest of high value targets.

She likewise thanked the PDEA and PNP personnel for their accomplishments, admitting that the city has yet to address the gaps—that is, the construction of “Balay Silangan” and the Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program.

During the program, Atty. Jacquelyn De Guzman, regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-9), officially declared the five drug-cleared barangays in her capacity as chair of the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.

Atty. De Guzman called on the barangay chairmen in particular to stay focused on drug-clearing program, pointing out that they are the most powerful local chief executives, owing to the enormous powers vested in them, thus having control of all government powers.

“Thus the expectation for you to take the lead in the fight against drugs,” she told the barangay captains. “Drugs come from different sources but ultimately they will land in the barangays, so you, barangay officials, take over,” she added.

De Guzman also said the barangay drug-clearing program has long been in existence, only it was not given emphasis until Pres. Duterte came to power that the program has become his administration’s priority thrust.

For his part, DILG-City Director Moh. Taha Arakama urged the barangay officials to focus on their “customers”—the drug personalities or persons who used drugs (PWUDs) as DOH prefer to call the users (not anymore drug addicts), pushers, protectors and drug lords.

“Focus on these personalities. Drug destroys lives, the lives of children and the youth, the hope of our father land. Their purpose and utility will be dampened,” Arakama said, stressing the barangay captains cannot win the war on drugs without the support of all stakeholders.

“We have to engage people who want our communities to be peaceful and drug-free,” the DILG officials said. “The challenge is to perform… the reform we desire cannot be achieved if we do not unite… your performance is the performance of the city,” Arakama addressed the 98 BADAC chairs and members.-(Vic Larato)