BAGUIO CITY – Four drug groups have been monitored by the Cordillera Office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR) to be actively operating in the region and are involved in the sale and distribution of prohibited drugs to willing victims over the past several months amidst the unrelenting and uncompromising anti-drug campaign of the government.
PDEA-CAR regional director Edgar Apalla said there are 3 active drug groups and 1 active drug group that are operating in Baguio City and Abra, respectively, while there are no identified drug groups that are operating in Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.
Further, the PDEA-CAR official claimed that there had been 159 drug personalities that have been listed and monitored to be operating in the region wherein there are 98 watch listed personalities and 61 target listed personalities regionwide.
Apalla revealed that shabu and marijuana are the most abused drugs in the region with the former as the top choice followed by marijuana.
He explained that data sourced from arrested personalities as of the middle of this month showed that majority of arrested drug personalities are shabu related cases.
On the other hand, he revealed that marijuana plantation sites are believed to be located in the hinterlands of the municipality of Tingalayan, Kalinga based on the previous marijuana eradication operations conducted jointly by PDEA-CAR, PDEA-RO1, NBI Region, 50th Infantry Brigade, 503rd brigade and PRO-COR.
According to him, the PDEA-CAR in close coordination with other law enforcement agencies is closely monitoring the possible re-emergence of marijuana plantation sites in the tri-boundaries of La Union-Benguet-Ilocos Sur as part of the pre-emptive measures to curb the resurgence of the plantation sites in the said places.
The PDEA-CAR official reported during the joint meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) that marijuana hashish and marijuana oil or hash oil are allegedly being processed in the remote villages of Tinglayan, Kalinga.
Likewise, he claimed that marijuana plants are reaped, dried, compacted into bricks and discretely transported outside of the region.
Apalla emphasized that based on interviews conducted on the arrested drug personalities, shabu entering the Cordillera towns come from the National Capital Region (NCR), and the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon passing through the major entry points of the region using public utility vehicles and private vehicles either rented or owned by some drug personalities in the region.
He noted that marijuana in different forms is believed to be from some areas in the hinterlands of Tinglayan, Kalinga and some hidden areas in Kibungan, Benguet and that they are brought out to some parts of Luzon using public utility vehicles, private and rented vehicles traversing major roads going out of the region.
By Dexter A. See