ILOILO CITY Mayor Jose Espinosa wants a better and tougher anti-illegal drugs program as drug peddlers and users continue with their illicit activities.
Espinosa said he discussed the matter with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after he received reports that the illegal drug problem remains unabated
“I have talked with PDEA as I need a new impetus in the anti-illegal drugs program because there are reports that some drug personalities are back in action and that the problem got worse in other areas,” he added.
To date, only 3 out of the 180 barangays in Iloilo City have been declared drug-cleared. Eight more villages are applying for the same status, but their applications were delayed due to “sightings” of new illegal drug players.
Espinosa said the situation calls for a sustained anti-illegal drugs program in the city, including the continuity of the community-based drug rehabilitation program dubbed “Crossroads”.
The mayor said he wants another approach to reduce the demand for illegal drugs, which, in turn, will reduce or even stop the supply of illegal drugs. His main targets are the youths who tend to get hooked on illegal drugs.
“Makadto naman kita sa kabataan,” he said.
The mayor assured ample budget for drug rehabilitation as stipulated in the city’s Peace and Order and Public Safety Plan (POPS Plan).
“The (illegal drugs) problem is enormous. In our little steps, we will sustain these anti-illegal drugs program,” Espinosa said.
Earlier, the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) reported that 90 alleged drug peddlers are still active in the city.
Senior Inspector Shella Mae Sangrines, ICPO spokesperson, said the number of suspected drug peddlers in the city went down from 107 to 90 after the PNP resumed its anti-drug campaign.
“The 17 (suspects) were already arrested or surrendered to Oplan Tokhang,” Sangrines said.
From Dec. 5, 2017until March 5, 2018, the ICPO has conducted 35 anti-drugs operations resulting in the arrest of 52 persons.