TACLOBAN CITY, Dec. 23 (PNA) – The anti-drug campaign has already knocked on 17,517 doors in Eastern Visayas region with thousands of drug personalities turning themselves in to authorities.

From July to mid-December 2016, at least 2,333 drug personalities in the watch list and 23,782 self-confessed traders and users have showed up at local police stations.

Among cities and provinces, Leyte has the highest number of surrenderers at 7,880, followed by Southern Leyte (5,396), Eastern Samar (3,342), Northern Samar (1,790), Samar (1,357), Biliran (786), Ormoc City (2,714) and Tacloban City (2,848).

Of the total surrenderers, 23,503 of them are users and 2,612 are pushers, said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency regional operations division chief Alex Tablate.

In the past six months, authorities have arrested 539 drug pushers and 59 drug users with 170 of them in the watch list.

“The intensified anti-drug war has already neutralized 598 drug personalities in the region,” Tablate added.

The campaign has compelled 59 out of 146 high value targets in the region to surrender. About 49 of them were arrested, 12 were killed in police operations and three were killed by lawless groups.

At least 45 drug personalities have been killed in the past six months both in legitimate police operations and vigilante killings.

The PDEA reported that illicit drugs have been shipped to the region from outside of Eastern Visayas through the ports of Allen and San Isidro in Northern Samar; Calbayog City and Catbalogan City in Samar, Naval in Biliran; Baybay City, Ormoc City, and Bato in Leyte; Maasin City, San Ricardo, and Lilo-an in Southern Leyte.

The anti-narcotics agency, and other state operating units have stepped up its watch in points of entry in the bid to limit if not prevent its entry to the region. (PNA) Maria Eden Mae T. Terceño