ABOUT 30 percent of 4,390 villages in Eastern Visayas are now cleared of illegal drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office reported on Wednesday.
PNP Regional Director Elmer Beltejar said eliminating illegal drugs has been their priority, heeding President Rodrigo Duterte’s order.
“During my incumbency, Eastern Visayas has been peaceful. Village officials and even teachers can attest to the safety of their communities after the crackdown against illegal drugs,” said Beltejar, who will retire from police service this August 31.
Beltejar, who assumed the post as regional director on July 2, recalled their efforts on dismantling the Espinosa drug group last year, resulting in the arrest of drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, the son of slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
“Espinosa’s instrumentalities were captured; others surrendered while other unluckily died in operations. Almost every week, the PNP managed to neutralize emerging drug operators in the region,” Beltejar said.
He said that for several years, the region’s illegal drugs trade was primarily controlled by the Espinosa group. The group used to supply 30 to 50 kilograms of shabu every month in Eastern Visayas and nearby regions.
Earlier, Beltejar confirmed that some people are trying to build their strength with the hope of supplanting the Espinosas in the illegal drugs trade in the region.
Illegal drugs still proliferates in the region from Manila or Cebu through its various seaports, since Eastern Visayas is surrounded by waters, he said. (PNA)