• Bataan wants to be PH’s first drug-free province

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    BALANGA CITY, Bataan: This province has expressed hope of becoming the first in the country to be drug-free, with provincial officials announcing on Saturday that only 37 percent of the barangay (villages) here villages are affected by the drug menace.

    President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a war on drugs and targeted a drug-free Philippines in six months.

    “Bago Oktubre ng taong ito, drug-free na ang buong Bataan. Tayo ang kauna-unahang probinsiya na magiging cleared sa droga sa buong Pilipinas [Before October this year, Bataan will be drug-free. We will be the first province to be clear of drugs in the Philippines],” according to Carlos Pizarro Jr., convenor of the provincial anti-illegal drug body.

    Pizarro, also general manager of the Metro Bataan Development Authority, lauded the dedication of the police in wiping out the drug problem in the province.

    With a drug-free Bataan, he said he foresees “more investors” coming in.

    Police Senior Supt. Benjamin Silo Jr., Bataan police director, said out of 211 drug-affected barangay as of July 1, 2016, some 127 have already been cleared as of August 31.

    The province has 237 barangay but only 211 were listed as drug-affected.

    According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Unit and the Philippine National Police in Region 3, three out of 11 towns and one city were declared 100 percent clear of drugs.

    The three towns are Bagac, Morong and Pilar.

    Silo shared Pizarro’s optimism, saying, “Our target is to be the first province nationwide to become drug-free before October 1, 2016.”

    He added that the police and the provincial government have adopted in their campaign against illegal drugs the slogan, “A drug-free community is the safest place to be.”

    The slogan won first place in the poster-and-slogan-writing contest held by the Bataan police for high school students last week.

    Silo said 19 involved in illegal drugs were killed in legitimate police operations and 240 arrested while 3,616 surrendered from July 1 to August 31.

    Mayor Alice Pizarro of Pilar credited the cooperation among the police, village officials and the community for making the town drug-free.

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