Don’t ever believe in those false rumor mon-gers that this city and province are now drug-free.
The fact is, 526 out of 557 barangays in Negros Oriental are affected by the drug menace. This equates to 94.4% of the total number of barangays. These numbers are based on figures from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) shared by Provincial Teal Leader Agent Grace Cruz during a public advocacy and engagement on countering HIV-AIDS, illegal drugs and violent extremism held at the convention center last Wednesday.
Agent Cruz disclosed of the number, 445 are slightly affected and 81 are moderately affected which means pushers and users alike are present in those barangays. She further shared that PDEA estimates showed there are about 20,000 drug users in the province, 13,000 of whom are surrenderees.
This developed as Dumaguete has 100% drug affectation of all the 30 barangays even as three barangays have been declared as drug- free barangays namely Poblacion 4, 5, and 7. She, however, said their status will remain cleared but subject to revalidation because of newly identified players in their respective barangays.
Agent Cruz stressed the drug problem worsened because of the high demand in the city and that the players are very creative in trying to outsmart the authorities expecially in the concealment of the contraband items coming from Cebu, Mindanao, Dipolog, Dapitan, Negros Occidental, and even the National Capital Region.
She said monitoring of high value drug personalities has been going on with more or less 100 government officials from the barangay level up to the municipal and city level including uniformed personnel for illegal use of drugs.
Entrapment will be resorted to as soon as concrete evidences are available against them, she pointed out.
As to the presence of drug dens, Agent Cruz further disclosed some have been identified in at least four barangays that are considered hot spots in the illegal drug trade which include Looc, Canday-ong in Calindagan, Cadawinonan and Taclobo.
But there is no report yet as to the presence of clandestine shabu laboratory in the province.
One of the reasons cited for the drug affectation in the province is the holding of a lot of festivals in Negros Oriental including fiestas aside from being a transshipment area due to the presence of a number of seaports and wharfs. On land, private cars or hired vans are being used to transport the shipment from the neighboring province.