TACLOBAN CITY, Oct. 7 (PNA) – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) described the illegal drugs trade in Eastern Visayas as manageable, but vowed not to be complacent on their fight against the drug menace, a top regional official said.

PDEA Regional Director Edgardo Jubay said the percentage of drug-affected villages in the region is lower compared to other regions in the country.

Out of the region’s 4,390 villages, only 822 or 18.7 percent are facing problems on illegal drugs proliferation, but most of these are categorized as slightly affected.

Broken down to provinces, Leyte has the most number of affected villages at 361, followed by Southern Leyte (219), Samar (75), Eastern Samar (74), Northern Samar (59), and Biliran (51).

Jubay said in a press briefing that they should not be complacent on the statistics, but rather aim to make all villages drug-free.

The anti-narcotics agency in their 138 operations conducted with other law enforcement agencies has already seized 12,806 grams of shabu and 29.8 grams of marijuana as of end of September 2016. At least 137 were arrested, 27 of which are government employees.

Shabu, which is labelled as “the poor man’s cocaine,” is the most widely used illegal drug in the region. Marijuana was the second.

“To strengthen the agency’s anti-drug campaign, we are not only focusing on the supply reduction effort, but on the drug demand reduction efforts as well,” Jubay added.

The PDEA also organizes lectures in schools and villages on the local drugs situation in the region and the ways to prevent it. In a case-to-case basis, they also conduct random drug testing. (PNA)