Lingayen- - -The first council meeting of the re-organized Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) was held, September 16, with Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. and Dangerous Drugs Board Secretary Antonio “Bebot” Villar leading the panel with an objective to fully intensify all efforts to address the dangerous drug menace in Pangasinan.
Gov. Espino, chairman of Pangasinan PADAC, identified five important things to consider in dealing with the social menace as he said that the solution is a concerted effort among leaders, concerned agencies down to the lowest unit.
The governor said that the program to eliminate the dangerous drug should possess the following: continuity, dedication, efficiency, integrity, and focus.
Gov. Espino said that schools and barangays should be prioritized even as he disclosed that in his last two years in office he will seriously undertake a more comprehensive, innovative, and stricter policy.
Being a former police officer where he held the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) for 12 years and arrested drug lords, the governor said the whole thing requires 90% intelligence works thus close coordination between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is needed.
Secretary Villar, on the other hand, disclosed that the need to help or assist the PDEA is of utmost concern as there are only 31 agents assigned to cover the entire region.
Cooperation between the barangay, the municipal, and the provincial council, he said, must also be given attention.
The secretary also asked the governor to take charge as he said that Gov. Espino’s forte as a former police officer is in intelligence works as he recalled that as a young military officer, Espino arrested Kumander Dante (Buscayno), the head of the New People’s Army.
Gov. Espino, in his term as 2nd district representative, has authored an important bill- - - Republic Act (RA) 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Meanwhile, Adrian Alvarino, PDEA regional director, reported that out of barangays in Pangasinan, 96 are drug affected.
On drug personalities involved, Alvarino disclosed that 26 are listed in their target list, 186 under watch list, and 9 for its wanted list.
The PDEA regional director also reported that in the four provinces of Region 1, prices of illegal drugs are lower in Pangasinan.
Most transactions, according to Alvarino, are held in public places while for bulk transactions, the choice of venue are hotels and inns.
From January to August 2014, PDEA has seized a total of 684.02514 grams of shabu and 4,477.634 grams of marijuana.
Gov. Espino tasked PDEA to assess their accomplishments since the start of their operation as he tapped the PNP to research on the updates of previous drug-related cases filed 10 years ago and submit reports to PADAC as basis of an intensive strategic direction for the council.
The council meeting was attended by different member agencies like the Liga Ng Mga Barangay Federation President Amado “Pogi” I. Espino III, PNP Provincial Director Reynaldo Biay, DILG provincial officer Reggie Colisao, Assistant Provincial Health Officer Jeremy Agerico Rosario, PSWDO chief Emilio Samson, PIO chief Orpheus Velasco, PAGASA youth organization representative Florence Berba, Rev. Fr. Francis Posadas of the Pastoral Council, DepEd Pangasinan I superintendent Alma Ruby Torio , representative of DepEd Pangasinan II superintendent Veraluz Raguindin, Provincial Prosecutor Abraham Ramos, and Atty. Gonzalo Duque, Dangerous Drug Board consultant.
Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr., PADAC executive director, served as the moderator in the council meeting. /RRB