BALANGA City, Bataan: Sixteen barangay (village) chairmen and the police chiefs of six towns and one city received certificates of recognition as the Philippine Drug Agency (PDEA) declared their jurisdictions drug-free.
The Bataan provincial government under Gov. Albert Garcia gave them P20,000 cash each.
Garcia, Vice Gov. Ma. Cristina Garcia and Police Senior Supt. Benjamin Silo Jr., Bataan police director, presented certificates of recognition to the heads of agencies and police officers and men for their outstanding performance in the campaign against illegal drugs.
Silo said he expects the number of drug-free villages to reach 74 before this month ends.
There are 237 barangay in 11 towns and a city in the entire province.
The PDEA, according to Silo, validates recommendations of the police and releases its decision after assessing which villages to declare free from drugs.
From July 1, 2016 to the present, Bataan police have neutralized more than 40 drug suspects in legitimate encounters, arrested almost 1,000 and accounted for more than 9,000 surrenderers, he said.
There are 14 BahayPagbabago or drug reformation centers in the province where some 250 to 300 surrenderers undertake reformation programs every month.
The governor lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) for maintaining peace and order in Bataan.
Garcia said peace and order is a prerequisite for economic growth.
“That is the PNP’s vital role. Without peace and order, investors would not dare to come to a place and economic
growth will not be achieved,” she added.
Meanwhile, Bataan police at dawn on Monday killed two suspected drug traders who allegedly tried to shoot it out with lawmen in two separate buy-busts in Balanga City and Abucay town.
Silo said that slain in the separate buy-busts coordinated with the PDEA were Jayson Rodrigo and Roberto Morales.
Rodrigo was killed at 1:45 a.m. in Barangay Tuyo in Balanga City while Morales was slain at 2:50 a.m. in Barangay Calaylayan in Abucay.
Both the slain drug pushers drew their handguns and fired at their buyers after sensing that they were dealing with police operatives.
They both missed their targets and were killed, police said.