Buluan, Maguindanao—More than 4,500 elected village officials in Maguindanao have vowed to help fight terrorism and crush drug trade networks that are still thriving in their communities.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who administered the Oath of Office of the province’s 4,573 mostly Muslim barangay officials, said the commitment to carry the national crusade against terrorism and drugs formed part of their sworn duty to faithfully serve the people.
Earlier, some towns went ahead in cleansing their own backyards of the webs of the covert illegal drugs trade, particularly Pandag and Shariff Aguak municipalities.
The government oversight committee on illegal drugs has declared the villages in the two towns as drug-free communities, which were previously red-marked for illegal drug dens.
Director Juvenal Azurin of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said the government oversight committee on illegal drugs is composed of PDEA, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health.
In Shariff Aguak town, Mayor Marop Ampatuan urged residents to learn lessons from arrested and charged individuals, who opted to trade illegal drugs for lawful means of living.
Pandag Mayor Zihan Mamalinta-Mangudadatu said the government oversight committee on illegal drugs has declared her municipality a drug-free community.
This vindicated her municipality from what used to be “disturbing reports” that a local commander of an armed group had run a shabu laboratory there, she added.
Mangudadatu said the struggle for a drug- and terror-free community has hardly ended, and that the people should continue being vigilant through the guidance of their elected leaders.
Maguindanao has a total of 508 barangays in its component 36 municipalities, according to the DILG, which directly engage local government units on President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders concerning terrorism and drugs.
Ampatuan said the government oversight committee on illegal drugs had also declared Barangays Kuloy and Bagong here as drug-free communities.