341 Metro barangays not supporting war on drugs

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TWENTY percent or 341 of the 1,706 barangays in Metro Manila are not cooperating with the police in its campaign against illegal drugs, according to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRP) director Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde.

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He said some barangay officials are uncooperative because they have relatives who are either using or selling drugs.

“Some 15 to 20 percent of the total number of barangays in the National Capital Region have yet to give their total support or are reluctant to cooperate with the police for different reasons,” Albayalde said at the weekly Manila Bay Media Forum at Café Adriatico in Malate, Manila.

“Majority of these [uncooperative]barangay (officials) have relatives or are themselves involved in the illegal drug trade. That is why they don’t cooperate with us,” he added.

Manila Police District (MPD) director Senior Supt. Joel Coronel said of Manila’s 896 barangays, 26 have yet to submit a drug watchlist and the membership of their local anti-drug council.

“We need the cooperation and support of the communities, particular the barangay officials, because they know who are the personalities involved in drugs and other crimes in their areas. They are very important in our campaign against illegal drugs,” Coronel said.

Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa asked for a drug watchlist when the police launched “Oplan Tokhang” (Knock and Appeal) to give drug users and pushers a chance to surrender and reform.

A similar directive was issued by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada last September so that the city government can help facilitate the counseling and rehabilitation program for drug users who want to change their ways. Estrada had warned that charges will be filed against uncooperative barangay officials.

Albayalde and Coronel again appealed to barangay officials to set aside their personal interest and cooperate with authorities.

Albayalde said the stepped up campaign against illegal drugs has considerably lowered the crime rate in every region, particularly in Metro Manila.

The NCRPO chief disclosed that crimes against property has dropped to “zero percent.” He admitted though that crimes against persons shot up, primarily because of extra-judicial killings.

Records show that more than 4,700 people have been killed since July 1 until the end of October. The number include the 1,700 drug suspects killed in legitimate police operations.

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