By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) warned the more than 42,000 barangay chairmen nationwide to have their Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) operational or face severe sanctions.
PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino clarified that merely organizing the BADAC is not enough since this has to be fully operational at any time of the day.
To prove his point, Aquino said that on May 21 the agency filed a complaint against Jamil Dilabaken incumbent barangay chairman of Barangay Malaya in the town of Buldon, Maguindanao before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao in Matina, Davao City.
Aquino said Dilabaken was charged with gross negligence and dereliction of duty after he failed to activate a BADAC in his barangay.
The agency, through Regional Director Juvenal Azurin of PDEA Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA RO-ARMM), filed the case against Dilabaken for violation of Section 60 of Local Government Code, in relation to Section 19 of Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 3 Series of 2017, otherwise known as “Strengthening the Implementation of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program”.
“BADACs’ main role is to assist law enforcement agencies in the eradication and clearing operation of illegal drugs. They were deputized to plan and implement strategic policies, programs, and projects on drug prevention and control, given the political and police powers of the barangay to administer the affairs of the community,’’ PDEA said in a statement.
In accordance with the DDB regulation, all Local Government Units (LGUs) are enjoined to appropriate a substantial portion of their annual budgets for barangay drug-clearing operations, including the activation of BADACs.
Aquino noted the failure to allocate funds in anti-drug efforts shall be a ground for disapproval of their annual budget and possible filing of appropriate charges pursuant to the local government code and anti-drug law.
“In case of failure of the local officials to conform with the duties as mandated in the barangay drug-clearing program shall also be a ground for the filing of appropriate charges of gross negligence and dereliction of duties,” Aquino said.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a similar memorandum and at the same time admonished the non-compliant barangay officials to establish functional BADACs through letters, but those warnings were not heeded.
“PDEA reiterates its call for all barangays not only activate but also strengthen their BADACs, which are deemed important in maintaining a pro-active stand in shielding the people from the drug menace,” Aquino said, adding that failure to do so will be ground in pursuing legal actions against them.