BOKOD, Benguet – The Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR) confirmed that there are five alleged drug groups that are operating in the region based on the evaluation and validation conducted by the agency on the presence of drug groups in the different parts of the region.
In his report during the 3rd quarter joint meeting of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR), PDEA-CAR regional director Edgar Afalla claimed that there are 3 active drug groups in Baguio city while 2 other suspected drug groups are operating in Abra.
However, he claimed that the active drug groups operating in the region are purely street level groups, thus, there are no drug laboratories and drug lords that were monitored regionwide as per the agency’s monitoring activities.
On the other hand, Afalla claimed there are 187 monitored drug personalities allegedly operating in the different parts of the region and that they are categorized to be included in the target list and watch list.
Of the 38 drug personalities in Abra, 32 are in the watch list while 6 are in the target list; 1 drug personality in Apayao is in the watch list; and in Baguio city, there are 79 validated drug personalities wherein 62 are in the watch list and 17 are in the target list.
According to him, there are 46 drug personalities in Benguet where there are 41 in the watch list and 5 in the target list.
In Ifugao, there are 4 drug personalities each in the target and watchlists, there are 18 drug personalities that are in the watchlist in Kalinga while in Mountain Province there is only 1 drug personality in the watch list.
For the period July to September 2018, combined law enforcement officers, anti-narcotics operatives and military personnel, conducted 130 operations wherein 45 of which were intelligent operations while 85 were negotiation operations that resulted to the arrest of 54 drug personalities.
Affala revealed that the anti-drug operations resulted to the seizures of dangerous drugs with a total market value of P87.8 million and that the similar operations also resulted to the filing of a total of 80 cases for different violations under the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The PDEA-Car official pointed out that the influx of tourists, both foreign and local, in the different parts of the region are believed to be being exploited by some individuals involved in illegal drug trade both marijuana and shabu and that the continuous cultivation of marijuana is prevailing in some areas in Tinglayan, Kalinga due to the alleged incessant patronage by some foreign and local tourists which is a thriving source of income, hence, a deferent factor affecting the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
He claimed that the resurgence of illegal drug activities in some municipalities and barangays that were previously cleared thus, the need for interned monitoring of both foreign and local tourists coming in and out of the region, especially those identified tourist spots in the Cordillera.