Barangay captains may be charged for neglecting anti-drug abuse body

BARANGAY chairs who failed to activate their local anti-drug abuse councils may face administrative charges, the Department of Interior and Local Government said.

While some barangays already activated their anti-drug councils, DILG Sec. Eduardo Año said there are barangays that do not comply with the DILG order at all.

“Even drug rehabilitation centers are required to be activated in the community, especially those that are deeply affected,” the DILG secretary added.

It was learned that the DILG already sent letters to admonish the erring barangay officials, but the warnings have been largely ignored.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) threw support to the DILG move, saying that barangays without a functional barangay anti-drug abuse councils (BADACs) may mean that the officials are either involved or benefitted from the illegal drug operations.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said village officials should establish BADACs in their areas of jurisdiction or else they should be charged for gross negligence and dereliction of duties.

“BADACs shall render assistance to the law enforcement agencies in the eradication and clearing operation of illegal drugs. They are deputized to plan and implement strategic policies, programs and projects on drug prevention and control, given the political and police powers of the barangay to administer the affairs of the community,” Aquino said, citing Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3 Series of 2017, otherwise known as “Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.”

In accordance with the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) regulation, all local government units (LGUs) are enjoined to appropriate a substantial portion of their annual budgets for barangay drug-clearing operations, including the activation of BADACs.

“Failure to do so shall be a ground for disapproval of their annual budget and possible filing of appropriate charges pursuant to the local government code and anti-drug law,” Aquino said.

The PDEA chief said the local officials who are engaged in illegal drug activities or who may have benefited from it, should be criminally charged pursuant to RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

In the absence of functioning BADACs, Rivera said “there is a high probability that these barangays have officials who are involved in the illegal drug trade or their barangays are havens of illegal drug activities.”

“PDEA reiterates its call for these non-compliant barangays not only activate but also strengthen their BADACs. The battle against illegal drugs at the community and street levels definitely starts in barangays. BADACS are important in maintaining a pro-active stand in shielding the people from the drug menace,” the PDEA chief concluded.

In Davao region, PDEA XI regional director Antonio Rivera told TIMES yesterday that BADACs are already activated in all the barangays.

“There was a resistance (from the barangay officials when the program was introduced),” Rivera said. “But when we discussed them the matter, they all cooperated.”

Rivera also said they are still monitoring five barangay officials who are allegedly involved in illegal drug activity in the region. The officials, reportedly barangay councilors, are already included in the narco-politicians drugs watch list of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Last week, a barangay councilor in that list was arrested by agents of the PDEA XI inside his house in Barangay New Visayas, Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

In Davao region, 583 out of the 1,162 barangays are drug affected. A total of 142 are already declared drug-free and 392 others barangays are still to be cleared.

None of the 182 barangays in the city is declared drug-clear, Rivera admitted.

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