A total of 172 barangay public safety officers or “tanods” from Quezon City have tested positive in drug tests conducted by the QC Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC) since March last year, Vice Mayor Josefina Belmonte Alimurung said today.
The number forms part of the more than 300 barangay officials and employees which all tested positive for drug abuse based on the June 22, 2016 result submitted by QCADAAC.
“This is very alarming considering that BPSOs are the force multiplier of the police in ensuring peace and order in our communities,” said Vice Mayor Belmonte, who also sits as QCADAAC chair, during a press conference at the QC Albert Session on Tuesday.
Aside from the BPSOs, also tested positive are two kagawads, 52 streetsweepers or ‘paleros,’ seven barangay health workers, 15 drivers, 15 utility workers, 10 community brigade workers, 11 barangay staff, one member of the task force on youth development, three from the violence against women and children, eight from the lupon ng tagapamaya and seven fire volunteers.
As of June 22, of the city’s total 142 barangays, 106 underwent the drug testing. The figure represents a completion rate of 74.64 percent.
During the press conference, Vice Mayor Belmonte disclosed that a sizeable amount of the supplemental budget of the city government will be set aside for the building of additional infrastructure for drug rehabilitation.
According to Belmonte, the request for increased funding is necessary in order for the city government to effectively implement its drug treatment and rehabilitation program, including construction of additional rehabilitation centers for drug dependents in each of the city’s six districts.
According to Belmonte, the city government, through QCADAAC, is spending at least P400 a day to rehabilitate a drug user. “This is a big investment for Quezon City,” the Vice Mayor said.
Earlier, Mayor Herbert Bautista unveiled the city government’s plan to build more rehabilitation centers to accommodate suspected drug personalities in the city who had agreed to voluntarily surrender to authorities and pledged to stop any involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Vice Mayor Belmonte also disclosed that the Department of Health (DOH) has already approved the request for additional beds at the Tahanan or the QC Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Payatas.
“Our request for additional 150 beds has already been approved by the DOH,” said Belmonte.
To date, the Tahanan has an existing bed capacity of 150. # (ARES P. GUTIERREZ, Chief, PAISO)