THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it will train its guns on the officials of provincial, city and municipalities that have failed to put up antidrug abuse councils (Adacs).
This, after the DILG said it still needs to gather sufficient evidence to prove the veracity of its assertions the officials of more than 600 barangays in different parts of the country that did not establish barangay Adacs, or Badacs, have links on drug syndicates.
In a statement, Interior Officer-in-Charge Eduardo M. Año said the DILG has started “working closely with the DDB [Dangerous Drugs Board] to ensure the creation and functionality of the higher Adacs.”
Año was quoted in the statement as saying that both the DILG and the DDB started to conduct an investigation on these local government units (LGUs).
He added: “We will also not hesitate to file charges against mayors and governors who are proven to have unorganized Adacs, as well.”
Año issued this threat after filing on April 30 before the Office of the Ombudsman administrative cases against several officials of five barangays of Manila and 11 in the Bicol province.
First in series
AÑO said the officials of the 16 barangays have committed a crime of “misconduct of office or dereliction of duty pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code of 1991.” He added the officials in these villages need not worry because they have a chance to defend themselves as they undergo due process at the Office of the Ombudsman.
But Año said the filing of charges against these officials is “just the first in a series of cases to be filed by the DILG” against rogue barangay leaders.
“[T]his is only the first batch because we are still in the process of culling all the reports from our regional and field offices,” he said. “And there are still over 600 barangays with no reports on their Badacs.”
Still, Año reminded the officials of more than 42,000 barangays nationwide about the paramount importance of the position in the government, saying that “[p]ublic office is a public trust.”
“They are not private citizens,” he added. “They are accountable of their duties and the public have the right to know if these tasks are delivered by them.”
THE interior chief said the filing of charges against the barangays with no Badacs should “send a strong message to the barangays on their important role in the anti-illegal-drugs campaign; more so that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections are just two weeks away.”
“Voters should be wise enough not to vote for incumbents who failed to act on the anti-illegal-drugs issues in their respective communities,” he said. “We need barangay officials who support the government’s agenda of change.”
Año said monitoring by the DILG of how barangays comply with the organizing of Badacs was just the first step in the process. Another step was the DILG’s monitoring of the functionality of organized Badacs.
According to Ano, “[w]hen we say functional, it means that the concerned local government units have allocated substantial budget for the antidrug campaign like community-based rehabilitation program” and not simply put up the council for the sake of saying they established Badacs.
He further pointed out that the barangays must have also submitted Badac action plans to the concerned DILG offices and must have implemented the programs, projects or activities listed in their action plan.
THE creation of Badacs was in accordance with DILG Memorandum Circular 2015-63, issued on June 16, 2015, during the time of then-President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The barangay chairman acts as the Badac head, while the councilor (kagawad) who heads the barangay committee on peace and order acts as the Badac vice chairman.
The members of the Badac include the councilor who heads the barangay committee on women and family, the SK chairman, the public-school principal or his/her representative, the chief of the barangay tanod or executive officer, a representative of a non-governmental organization, a representative of a faith-based organization.
According to Año, “functional Badacs are those that have significantly decreased the number of drug affectations in their barangays as to be validated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.”