PNP Region 7 director: Drug-free society needs slow but sure approach

DUMAGUETE CITY, July 1 (PNA) -– Newly installed regional director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 7 (Central Visayas) on Tuesday explained the need for his administration to prioritize the problem of illegal drugs to secure the future of the younger generations.

Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas, in an interview Tuesday afternoon, explained that if the problem on illegal drugs cannot be curtailed this early, then the future of the young people is at stake.

“The illegal drugs problem transcends all ages and we are concerned with the future,” said Chief Supt. Bañas on his first visit to Negros Oriental as the new PNP regional director, to attend the joint Philippine Army and the PNP regional Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center conference at Camp Fernandez, Sibulan.

According to the PNP regional director, if the younger generations get hooked on drugs, “we are sacrificing the future of our country and the people”.

“At an early age, (we should open up the eyes (of the young) and prevent or restrict access to illegal drugs,” Bañas said.

He expressed optimism that it is just a matter of focusing at work and motivating and giving inspiration to the police personnel to continuously pursue their anti-illegal drugs operations.

Chief Supt. Bañas also lauded the local chief executives for their support and cooperation in the fight against illegal drugs.

When asked about the current status of the illegal drugs problem, Bañas said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) ought to be the right agency to give an assessment.

However, due to constraints, such as lack of manpower at PDEA, the PNP “is taking the cudgels” and operates relentlessly to combat the illegal drugs problem, Bañas said.

While he could not give a specific target as to what his leadership would like to achieve or see at the end of the year as regards the illegal drugs trade, Bañas admitted that everyone would like to see a drug-free society.

He said that after the first three months of his office, he will conduct a validation, assessment and evaluation on the status of the illegal drugs problem in Region 7, which comprises the Central Visayas province of Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.

Current records show that during the first six months of 2014, some P34-million worth of illegal drugs were seized in various parts of Central Visayas.

Police have attributed the rise in the volume of illegal drugs seized this year as opposed to that of the same period in review last year at a measly P7 million to intensified anti-illegal drugs police operations. (PNA)