MANILA, Philippines – After an order from President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday, April 30, released its "validated" barangay (village) drugs list.
It contains names of 207 barangay officials (3 already former officials), whom the PDEA believes are linked to the illegal drug trade based on classified intelligence reports. (READ: PDEA drugs list: Barangay officials linked to illegal drugs) Officials also say the list is not final and will be updated based on what ongoing investigations reveal.
But in this accusatory shaming of local officials, which local areas are most damaged in terms of reputation? Which of them have the most barangay officials linked to drugs? What do the numbers say?
The basics: Of the 207 barangay officials, 90 are barangay captains, while 117 are barangay councilors from over 100 barangays.
The number is dwarfed by the total number of barangays in the Philippines, which currently stands at over 42,000.
Each village has its own barangay captain and 7 barangay councilors who constitute the leadership of the villages.
As the closest local government units to Filipinos, barangays should ideally be at the frontlines of the government's anti-illegal drugs policy – not entertaining, but running after – perpetrators of the illegal drug trade.
The takeaway: Cagayan Valley (Region II) is not missing from the tally. The PDEA did not include any barangay officials from the northeastern region.
According to PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon, this is not a mistake, explaining that the list is not yet final. (READ: PDEA, DILG insist: Barangay drug list not a hit list)
Officials from Region II may still be added to the list as investigations continue.
The takeaway: Albay is the province with the most drug-linked officials based on PDEA's list. Albay barangay officials make up more than half of the accused local leaders in Bicol.
It is followed by Abra, which also accounts for more than half of the list of accused officials of its region, the Cordillera Administrative Region.
The takeaway: On top of the list are key cities in the government's anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Manila, the country's capital and the official seat of government, is the site of many drug-related killings – from vigilante-style shootings to police anti-illegal drug operations. (READ: The Impunity Series)
Ozamiz has also figured prominently in the anti-drugs campaign, as its own mayor, Reynaldo Parojinog, and his family members were gunned down by cops in an early morning drug raid.
One surviving Parojinog family member is also on the PDEA list: Marlon Parojinog, a councilor of Barangay Cogon in Ozamiz City.
Graphic by Ernest Fiestan/Rappler
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.