Within the year, around 270 “narco-barangays” in Manila will be cleansed of illegal drugs, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada said on Monday.
Estrada has ordered the Manila Police District to initially target barangays that are “slightly affected,” a police term for communities that have at least one drug user or pusher.
“Our mission this year, is 30 to 50 percent of our barangays will be identified as drug-free, which means zero presence of illegal drugs and abusers,” the two-term city mayor said. Manila has 896 barangays.
For the first quarter of 2017, MPD will take on 32 slightly-affected barangays, city police director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said.
“With the all-out support of the city government and the barangays, we’ll be able to do that. It’s doable and hopefully, within our target,” Coronel said.
With the temporary suspension of the Philippine National Police’s anti-drug “Oplan Tokhang,” Coronel said the MPD will conduct “ugnayan” or dialogues in every barangay to convince drug dependents to surrender for rehabilitation.
Estrada has also launched the “Sagip Buhay, Sagip Pangarap” community-based drug treatment program to aid the recovery of drug dependents.
Coronel said the city government’s active outreach programs will be enough to contain abusers and traffickers in these barangays.
He said “moderately affected” barangays, or communities where two percent of the population are involved in drugs, will be next.
“We’ll shift to those barangays, up to the time we clear the 896 barangays. Hopefully, we can clear as many as we can for this year,” the police chief said.
Recently, Estrada confirmed that some barangay chiefs have tested positive for drug use after the mandatory drug testing held last November.
Estrada said he will publicly announce who these barangay officials are once confirmatory drug tests have been completed.
“We want to be sure. We don’t want to give names which have not been confirmed,” he said, while promising to file criminal and administrative charges against the erring officials.