CENTRAL Visayas has the highest number of arrested high-value drug suspects over the past 100 days of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.

PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said 250 high-value drug targets were arrested in the region from July 1 to October 8.

Next to Central Visayas were Central Luzon with 203 arrested high-value drug suspects, Calabarzon with 156, Davao with 132, and National Capital Region with 123.

Azurin said a total of 13,391 drug suspects, including 1,531 high-value targets were arrested during the conduct of 12,321 anti-illegal drugs operations during the period.

They were all charged with violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“These significant accomplishments remarkably describe the aggressiveness of the intelligence-driven supply reduction strategy with strong emphasis on non-violent methods of effecting arrest while ensuring protection of operating teams engaged in violent confrontation with armed suspects brought by proper equipment and training,” Azurin said.

Through holistic approach as the new face of the anti-illegal drug campaign of the government, Azurin assured that PNP will remain at the forefront of the national strategy against the country’s drug problem.

Azurin said from July 2016 to November 2022, 26,200 barangays have been declared cleared out of the total of 35,356 villages that were previously tagged as drug affected from illegal drugs, under the Barangay Drug Clearing Program of the government.

Since Marcos took office, 403 barangays were declared cleared from illegal drugs.

Cagayan Valley has the highest recorded drug cleared barangay with 94.41 percent, followed by Cordillera Region at 94.36 percent, Mimaropa at 93.95 percent, Eastern Visayas at 93.09 percent, and Soccsksargen at 88.25 percent.

A barangay is classified as drug affected if there is presence of a person who used drugs (PWUDs); moderately affected if there’s a presence of drug pushers and PWUDs; and seriously affected if there is a reported existence of any of the following: clandestine drug laboratory, warehouse, marijuana plantation, and drug den/tiangge, drug trafficking or smuggling activities, and drug personalities such as users, pushers, financiers, protectors, cultivators, and manufacturers.

Of the 35,356 drug-affected barangays, 17,079 are classified as slightly affected, 17,860 are moderately affected, while 417 are seriously affected.

“The PNP, in coordination and partnership with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) along with local government units (LGUs), other government agencies and stakeholders in the community remains committed to clear the remaining 9,112 or 25.77 percent barangays in the coming years,” Azurin said.

“Rest assured that the entire police force is always ready to extend assistance during the implementation of intervention and rehabilitation programs for drug users in order to help them to become productive citizens again when they are re-integrated to the community,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)