Camp BGen Simeon A Ola, Legazpi— The commitment to make Bicol a drug-free region continues as the Police Regional Office 5, in collaboration with its partner agencies, strives to bridge the gap between drug-affected communities and those that are now declared drug-cleared.

As of November 8, 2023, the region has 2,270 barangays declared as drug-free, a significant achievement compared to the original number of 2,793. Bicol now has only 523 remaining barangays grappling with the issue of illegal drugs.

Of these 2,270 barangays, 558 are in Albay; 232 in Camarines Norte; 551 in Camarines Sur; 232 in Catanduanes; 358 in Masbate; 327 in Sorsogon; and 12 in Naga City.

These barangays also fall into two categories, with 1,348 slightly affected and 922 moderately affected.

A “drug-cleared” barangay refers to a locality that was previously categorized as drug-affected but has undergone the drug-clearing program and been officially declared drug-cleared by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing.

The process of clearing these barangays adheres to strict parameters set by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which includes the absence of active drug users; no drug pushers; no maintained drug dens; no coddler protectors; no financiers; no cultivators; no manufacturers; and other criteria.

Furthermore, the criteria encompass regular house visitations and monitoring to identify drug personalities, as well as the provision of appropriate intervention to drug users and pushers.

While significant progress has been made, with 523 barangays still grappling with the drug issue, PRO5 and PDEA call upon the cooperation of local government units to complete the necessary documentary requirements for these remaining drug-affected barangays.

Notably, in October 2023, PRO5 successfully confiscated a staggering P7,505,232.56 worth of illegal drugs and apprehended 120 violators through 98 operations conducted during the month. This achievement serves as a testament to the unwavering dedication of the unit in its pursuit to eliminate illegal drugs.

PRO5 headed by PBGEN WESTRIMUNDO D OBINQUE, RD and its partner agencies remain committed to the mission of creating a drug-free Bicol and look forward to further collaboration with the community and local authorities to achieve this critical objective. (via PNP Kasurog Bicol)