Sen. Bam Aquino questioned the rise in number of drug-infested barangays in the country despite the aggressive campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against illegal drugs.
”In just seven months, the number of moderately drug-affected barangays jumped from 4,303 to 9,207. Why is there such a large increase, more than double,” Sen. Bam Aquino asked during his interpellation on the budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Moderately affected barangays are defined as areas where at least two percent of the population are involved in illegal drugs. Based on records from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), these barangays increased from 4,303 to 9,207 from January to July of this year.
On the other hand, Sen. Bam lauded the decrease in the number of seriously affected barangays – or communities with a reported presence of a drug laboratory or marijuana plantation — from 217 in January 2017 to just 44 identified in July of the same year.
“May progreso naman ang kampanya ng pamahalaan. Maybe we can expect this to drop to zero seriously affected barangays by the end of the year,” said Sen. Bam.
Still, Sen. Bam asserted that the police force must work to win the trust of the Filipino people, especially with the issues hounding the government’s drug war.
“Marami nang Pilipino ang natatakot na maging collateral damage ng drug war,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the June 23 to 26, 2017 SWS survey where seven of 10 Filipinos expressed fear that they themselves or someone they know will become a victim of an extrajudicial killing (EJK).
The senator noted that while the drop in the country’s crime rate is commendable, there are still regions with alarming numbers for homicide cases, such as Central Luzon with 1,397 deaths, CALABARZON with 2,185, Davao Region with 1,141 deaths and NCR with 3,141 deaths.
“Bakit may mga areas na bumaba ang crime rate na wala gaanong homicide cases habang may mga regions na in the thousands ang mga namamatay?” Sen. Bam asked the DILG and PNP.
“Dapat pag-aralan ang mga area gaya ng MIMAROPA at CAR na mababa ang kaso ng pagpatay. Hindi ba ito ang dapat tularan, na sa pagbaba ng crime rate, mababa rin ang bilang ng namamatay,” stated Sen. Bam, to which the PNP agreed.
Region 4-B or MIMAROPA reported 273 deaths while CAR reported 175 deaths.
Sen. Bam also encouraged the DILG to hasten the process of dismissing scalawag policemen from the service to stop the abuses and the killings. As of latest data, the PNP said around two percent or 3,620 of the 181,000 policemen in the country are involved in illegal drugs.