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Body pushed to flag places used for drugs

CEBU, Philippines – A Cebu City councilor is pushing for the creation of a City Dangerous Drugs Administrative Board to hear complaints regarding “public nuisances”, defined as a building or structure twice used as site of the sale or delivery of dangerous drugs.

Ex-officio member of the City Council, Phillip Zafra said there is a need to establish an administrative board to implement the provision of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Zafra, president of the Association of the Barangay Councils-Cebu City Chapter, said it is time to implement Section 52 of RA 9165 which empowers the city to declare as public nuisance any building or structure used on two or more occasions as the site of sale or delivery of dangerous drugs.

Proposed members of the board are the city mayor or his representative, ABC president, City Council public order and safety committee chairman, Cebu City Police Office director, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director, Cebu City Health officer, Cebu City Legal officer; a representative from the academe; and a representative from the religious sector.

The term of office of the members of the board shall be co-terminus with the mayor’s term. Each member will get a P1,000 honorarium per meeting. Meetings should not exceed four times a month.

The board will receive complaints from any government employee or a resident of the city about a “public nuisance”.

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Under the proposed procedure, the board will inform the defendant or the subject of the complaint and the defendant will be asked to submit a reply. A hearing will be conducted by the board with the presence of parties concerned with their evidence.

After the hearing, Zafra said the board will decide whether or not to declare the place a public nuisance.

He said the city mayor will implement the order issued by the administrative board, which will also determine when the order will expire depending on the result of the hearing.

Places considered public nuisances can no longer be occupied. Also punishable under Section 3 of the proposed ordinance is the mutilation, alteration, or removal of posters put up by the board to this effect.

Violators will be fined not less than P5,000 or imprisoned of six months to one year.

Zafra said the board may bring the complaint seeking permanent injunction against any public nuisance.

As for the budget, he said the city should appropriate at least P500,000 annually for the implementation of the ordinance.

Zafra referred the proposed ordinance to the council’s committee on laws, ordinances, and styling for its comments and recommendations. —/BRP (FREEMAN)

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