BAGUIO CITY, April 26 (PIA) -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Cordillera, in cooperation with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH) and the local government units, is presently intensifying the campaign against illegal drugs following report of increase in the number of drug-affected barangays in the region.
During the 1st Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) meeting held recently, PDEA-Cordillera Plans and Operations Chief Seynor Sanchez reported that as of March 2018, there are some 764 barangays whose status as drug-cleared were updated and about 359 unaffected barangays out of the 1,176 barangays in the region after assessment of the regional oversight committee.
It was learned that in August 2017, there were only eight remaining drug- affected barangays–two in Benguet and six in Baguio. But with the reports of resurgence of illegal drug activities in about 66 barangays, a revalidation was conducted.
As of March 20, 2018, there were 40 barangays validated to have a resurgence while one of the eight drug-affected was cleared bringing the total number of drug affected barangays to 47.
In the same meeting, Sanchez revealed that “Shabu” is brought to the city using public utility buses and other vehicles rented for the purpose. Marijuana, on the other hand, is brought to the other parts of the country via Baguio using buses and other public utilities from the source to the city and out to the market.
He said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), specifically the 503rd Brigade of the Philippine Army, PDEA and PNP led the seizure and destruction of Php17,562,886 worth of illegal drugs and the arrest of 53 drug personalities in the region from January to March this year.
Sanchez reported further that there were 146,740 grams of fully grown Marijuana plants worth Php3.668 million; 127,300 seedlings valued at Php5.092M; 57,518 Marijuana stalks worth Php7.199M; 15,471 g. of Marijuana dried leaves worth Php386,775M; 5,545 g. of Marijuana fruiting tops worth Php693,125 and 2,000 grams of hashish oil worth Php440,000 and 11.5404 grams of Shabu worth Php89,149.59 destroyed in eradication and buy bust operations in the first quarter of the year.
This includes the recent operations in Barangays Buscalan and Loccong in Tinglayan, Kalinga where 84,700 fully grown Marijuana plants and 13,500 seedlings were destroyed by joint forces from the PRO-COR and the 503rd Brigade and the PDEA.
With the report of Baguio being the transhipment point of illegal drugs to and from the other parts of the country, Sanchez said that they are utilizing the canine capability of the office, deploying them in bus stations to “sniff illegal drugs”.
The goal of the region is to sustain the drug-cleared and drug-unaffected status of the barangays as they continue to monitor the drug situation and operate against illegal drugs as part of the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte. Maria Aprila W. Cruz (EDT/MAWC – PIA CAR)