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16 more barangays in Pangasinan have been proclaimed drug-free.

Following a series of examinations and monitoring, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has declared 16 barangays in the towns of Umingan, Sual, and San Fabian, as well as this city, as drug-cleared.

PDEA Pangasinan provincial officer Rechie Camacho said in a phone interview on Monday that the province now has 1,065 drug-cleared barangays out of 1,272 drug-affected barangays.

“Hopefully, we will be able to cleanse the entire province before the conclusion of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government,” he stated.

According to PDEA Pangasinan, the barangays underwent rigorous validation by the province and regional barangay drug clearing teams and were proclaimed drug-cleared by the Regional Oversight Committee during the discussion in November this year.

Most of the remaining barangays that haven’t been purged of illegal drugs, according to Camacho, lack “Balay Silangan,” which is a necessity for local government entities (LGUs).

“The pushers are rehabilitated at Balay Silangan. The LGUs are required to do so, however due to the pandemic, the putative Balay Silangan facilities were used as coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) facilities,” he explained.

As Covid-19 instances are dropping, he continued, they are pushing LGUs to concentrate on developing a “Balay Silangan.”

In the meantime, Camacho claims that the volume of illegal drug supply in the province has decreased as a result of the pandemic.

He did say, though, that they are watching the impact of reducing border rules on the illegal drug trade in the province.

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