PDEA NegOr intensifies brgy drug clearing

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

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Members of the Negros Oriental Provincial Peace and Order Council in a meeting led by
Vice Gov. Edward Mark Macias (5th from left, seated), vice-chair of the Provincial Peace and Order Council. (PIA Negros Oriental)

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) here recently reported that 71 out of 557 barangays in Negros Oriental are declared cleared from illegal drugs after receiving a certification by members of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.

However, Provincial Officer IA1 Gelly Robins Cataluña of PDEA reported in a Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting that out of the 486 drug-affected barangays, 290 are classified as slightly affected, 162 are moderately affected, 27 considered unaffected while seven barangays are seriously affected

PDEA is also focusing its operation on seriously drug-affected barangays in Poblacion, Basay; and Bagacay, Calindagan, Candauay, Looc, Piapi, and Cadawinonan in Dumaguete City.

Under the implementation of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP), particularly the status and classification of barangays that are still drug affected, Cataluña said his team is set to visit more than 10 barangays in different municipalities and cities in the province.

The team will also regularly monitor barangays already declared as drug-cleared since the “drug cleared” status may be revoked if the barangay fails to maintain it, said Cataluña.

The PDEA agent also revealed that Negros Oriental serves as a trans-shipment point of illegal drugs from Cebu to Mindanao and vice-versa.

With that, PDEA sets to establish interdiction units at the airport and seaports to deter and catch drug syndicates and couriers sneaking in or smuggling illegal drugs.

It was noted that shabu remains to be the drug of choice among users and pushers in the province.

Included in PDEA’s anti-drugs campaigns is enhancing coordination with local government units (LGUs).

Cataluña said they need to go through the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) and that LGUs should prioritize the creation of rehabilitation centers as they have the capacity to create reformation and rehabilitation centers.

To date, among the LGUs in the province, only Canlaon City is set to establish the Bahay Silangan or rehabilitation center.

The Dangerous Drugs Board sets Bahay Silangan Guidelines for community involvement in reforming drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.

Militia ng Bayan rebel returnees in NegOr seen to receive E-CLIP aid

By Jennifer C. Tilos

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  In a NOTF-ELCAC meeting, Col. Noel Baluyan (w/ mic), commander of the 302nd IB Philippine Army, proposes to the task force the inclusion of Militia ng Bayan surrenderees in the recipients of the cash assistance under E-CLIP. (PIA Negros Oriental)

The Philippine Army here has proposed to the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) to include the 32 Militia ng Bayan surrenderees in the recipients of the financial assistance package under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) earlier this week in Dumaguete City.

“We thank these people for voluntarily surrendering to the government, and recommend that they will be included in the E-CLIP as beneficiaries to assist them who want to abandon the hostility of armed conflict,” said Col. Noel Baluyan, brigade commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade (IB).

E-CLIP is a peace-building and social protection program that provides interventions to former New People’s Army rebels and Militia ng Bayan members in becoming productive citizens of society.

With the decline of COVID-19 cases in the province, the PTF-ELCAC will continue the implementation of programs that have been delayed due to the pandemic.

Baluyan said a lot has to be done in addressing the insurgency problem involving the areas that were previously included in the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).

RCSP is the primary program in line with the government’s effort at the grassroots level to combat the activities of the communist terrorist group which is focused on socio-economic and cultural problems.

However, under ELCAC, the Peace Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) cluster is in charge of clearing the guerilla front of CPP-NPA to alert their politico-military infrastructure in the red areas.

“So we want to eradicate the armed group and account for their firearm and clear barangays in the province,” the army commander said.

The task force has identified 16 priority barangays where issues and concerns are collected during the “Dagyawan sa Barangay” activities.

As the country grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, the national government agencies, as well as local government units concerned, are urged to slowly continue the community support programs with the observance of COVID-19 protocols.

“Rest assured that the insurgency problem in the province will be addressed by the NOTF ELCAC, addressing the root causes of the problem down to the sitio level,” said Baluyan.

NegOr on alert vs unauthorized entry of individuals from Cebu

By Roi Lomotan

Gov.RoelDegamo3

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has urged residents and officials living in coastal areas of the province to be alert against the unauthorized entry of people coming from Cebu who use regular pump boats as mode of transport.

Degamo has instructed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to coordinate with all Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTS) and village chiefs residing in the province’s coastal areas to be alert against this scheme.

Dili pwede nga naay mga pump boat gikan sa Cebu, na magkarga ug tawo, na makasulod sa dire sa atoang probinsiya. Kung naay BHERTS na gapabuyag,nga wala motuman sa lagda sa guidelines, akong giingnan atong i-suspend. I will not hesitate to suspend the barangay officials na gapabuyag ug wala magtuman sa guidelines na atong gilati (Pump boats carrying individuals from Cebu should be barred from entering the province. I will not hesitate to suspend the BHERT or the barangay official who will disobey this directive or the guidelines we have set),” Degamo stressed.

He explained the move is part of the measures undertaken by the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force-Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), which he also chairs, to further “flatten the curve” or bring down the COVID-19 statistics in the province.

We need to protect the 1.5 million people. Base sa atoang record, nag-zero na ta sa Covid-19 positive and ang atong graph is hapit na ma-flatten. We need to preserve. The only way to preserve is to close the borders (Based on our records, we have zero positive cases and our graph is showing that we are close to flattening the curve. We need to preserve this and the only way to preserve this is to close the borders),” he said.

The local chief executive of the province noted the surge of COVID-19 cases in Cebu, which is why the province has to maintain border closure for the meantime to protect its residents.

In relation to this, Philippine National Police (PNP) Negros Oriental Provincial Director PCol. Julian Entoma assured that the entire police force will cooperate with this directive from the governor.

Ang atong gipanagan-an katong gikan sa Cebu na mopakyaw ug pump boat na motabok pod sa atong seashore. As of now, ang atong mga hepe sa coastal areas ato nang gipa-adto sa mga kabarangayan. Atong himug-atan ang barangay official ug mga tanod. Kon dili nila mapugnan or labi na ila-itolerate kay ang modunggo diha ila pod paryente, among pasampolan, pabuhat ug report na ang barangay official maoy violator para among i-recommend sa DILG to be suspended (We are keeping an eye on pump boats coming to our seashore. As of now, I have instructed the chiefs of police to visit coastal villages. We are informing the barangay official and tanods about this. If they won’t enforce it, perhaps they have relatives coming in riding pump boats, then we will file a report against them and recommend to DILG to suspended them from work),” Entoma said.

The border closure is part of the measures implemented under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) declared over Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, Degamo cited that if the numbers continue to decline, the provincial IATF-EID may consider to downgrade the status of the province from ECQ to modified General Community Quarantine.