633 barangay captains in Bicol in hot water for failing to organize anti-drug body
Some 638 village chieftains in Bicol could be charged with negligence for failing to organize a Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC), said a top official of the regional office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Elouisa Pastor, DILG- 5 (Bicol) regional director, in a phone interview Tuesday said the barangay captains would be charged administratively with simple to gross negligence if they continue to fail to organize a BADAC in their respective areas.
Pastor also revealed that some BADACs were saddled with operational and organizational issues, such as failure to submit a regular report, including a drug watch list identifying illegal drug personalities in the villages.
Some officials, she said, also fear for their safety from illegal drug syndicates or groups, and of being tagged as coddlers or cohorts of illegal drug personalities.
For a BADAC to be organized and become functional, it should hold monthly meetings and submit a monthly report of activities and updated drug watch list, she added.
Pastor said the agency would issue village chiefs an ultimatum to organize a BADAC but failure to do so could lead to administrative sanctions.
DILG statistics show that of the 3,471 barangays in Bicol, 82 percent or 2,833 villages have BADACs while 638 or 18 percent have failed to have an organized council.
Pastor said the provinces with fully organized BADACs are Albay; Camarines Norte; Catanduanes (91 percent); Camarines Sur (86 percent); Masbate (52 percent); and Sorsogon (38 percent).
The Regional Oversight Committee led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported that of the 3,471 villages in Bicol, at least 547 (16 percent) are considered as drug-affected.
According to Pastor, the committee, based on its evaluation, considers these affected villages as “manageable”.
The committee also said that 51 villages in Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte have been declared “drug-cleared” areas. (PNA)