NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley, November 19 (PIA) - More than PhP 24-million worth of illegal drugs were burned on Monday in Compostela Valley province as a kick-off celebration of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week.
Witnessed by the provincial officials, police, Regional Trial Court judges, and lawyers from Fiscal's and Public Attorney's Offices, the ceremony was held at the Capitol Grounds of the province in Nabunturan.
According to the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency XI, the burnt items were the drugs and non-drug evidences from decided cases from the regional trial courts in the region, on violation of the Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 or Republic Act 9165.
The illegal drugs were accounted as 2.05 kilograms of Metamphetamine Hydrochloride or more known as shabu, and 5.33 kilograms of marijuana.
PDEA XI Regional Director Antonio Rivera said that the burning of the evidence is part of the process of the dangerous drugs cases as stated in RA 9165.
"Ginasunog nato na (We are burning these) publicly to show to the public that we do not engage in recycling of illegal drugs," he said.
Director Rivera also stressed that only around fifty percent of all the barangays in the region was declared drug-cleared, however they aim to reach 98 percent by 2021.
He added that the national target to end the drug problem is before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte on 2022.
"We are trying to convince the local government units to put their acts together and pakusgon jud nato ni (let's intensify this)," he said.
Rivera also disclosed that the agency continuously works on its three prongs to address illegal drug problem, which are Supply Reduction, Demand Reduction and Harm Reduction.
In the supply reduction, Rivera said that they are building stronger border - stronger sea and airport, since the stocks come from the so-called triangle, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
On demand reduction, he said, the agency is conducting information, education and communication campaign to let the people know on the ill effects of illegal drugs.
The director also said that in their harm reduction program, PDEA together with other government agencies helped the drug surrenderees by rehabilitating them with the end goal of integrating them back to the society as better and productive citizens. (PIA 11/ Michael Uy)