Lawmaker urges tighter maritime transport security

ZAMBOANGA City Representative Celso Lobregat has urged the agencies governing the operations of maritime transportation to strengthen the watch against illegal drugs shipment.

Lobregat made the call as he expressed apprehension that illegal drug operations will thrive if the concerned government agencies fail to improve the supervision of ports and guarding the coastal waters.

The lawmaker said the agencies such as the Philippine Coastguard (PCG), Maritime Industry Authority, Office of Transport Security, and Land Transportation Office, should intensify and coordinate their efforts to suppress trafficking of illegal drugs.

Lobregat’s call came after Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula (Western Mindanao) Director Billy Beltran revealed that the drug dealers have shifted to backdoor transactions following the intensified anti-drug campaign of the government.

The police authorities disclosed that Zamboanga City is also being utilized as backdoor transshipment point by traders of illegal drugs.

Lobregat said the seemingly relaxed security protocol being implemented in ports all over the country is being taken advantage of by the drug syndicates.

Lobregat said the authorities should prioritize in suppressing the backdoor entry of illegal drugs.

He suggested to the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the PCG to also focus on the coastal waters as this may be used as transport routes for illegal drugs. (Bong Garcia/Sunnex)
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