BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) called on the police to coordinate with the provincial field office of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to check motorists who might be couriers of illegal drugs.
In their meeting last week , the local anti-drug council took note of an incident where an individual among a convoy of motorcycle riders was collared by the Bontoc police after dried marijuana leaves were found inside his backpack. The rider, identified as Emerson Cuevas Fornis, a resident of San Jose. Del Monte, Bulacan and his companions allegedly came from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga.
Records obtained from the Bontoc Police Office reveal that they put up a check point at sitio Lagcangeo along the Bontoc-Kalinga national road just after receiving a message from an informant. The information from the tipster gave the physical description of the motorcycle where the contraband could be found.
Formal charges were filed against the suspect but was later on released on bail last September 6.
The incident prompted the PADAC to make the verbal request to police officers who are also members of the council. The policemen said that after the proper coordination, they will be coming out with strategic actions to check on visitors coming inside or passing through the province.
PADAC member Father Marcial Castaneda described the incident as unfortunate which could affect the declaration of the province as a drug-cleared province. It would be recalled that in a fitting ceremony last February 14 this year, the province was declared drug-cleared. The activity was attended by the regional directors of NAPOLCOM, PNP, DILG, and PDEA.
Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. said that the decision of PADAC to check on motorists is one of the many ways to protect law abiding tourists frequenting various areas in the province. “I know that this move will irk some of the visitors but we must do it to protect them and our people from illegal drugs. I just hope that they will understand and bear with us,” the governor said.
Lacwasan made the explanation after some quarters reacted that the move of the council will discourage tourists from visiting the province.
By Angel Baybay