Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Domondon: The right notion

Open Season

THE suspicion of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Director General Aaron Aquino that the millions of pesos worth of cocaine recently recovered off the waters of Camarines Norte, Siargao and the Dinagat islands is merely a ploy by drug syndicates to distract authorities from larger bulks of illegal drugs being smuggled into the country may be closer to the truth than anybody would be willing to accept.

The reality right now is that millions if not billions of pesos worth of the illegal drug “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is circulating around the country or else stored in secret warehouses under the watchful eyes of drug syndicates. This has already been proven by the seizure of so many kilos of shabu by the authorities just recently. The fact that this huge volume of shabu has found its way into our territory only means that somehow these drug dealers have become cleverer and more devious in crafting ways and means to transport their illegal product.

The strategy of allowing small caches of illegal drugs to be detected and seized in order to distract authorities from discovering bigger shipments of prohibited drugs about to be transported is not an original idea and may well be employed in the future by these drug syndicates to guarantee the safe passage of their contraband.

But apart from having the right assumption on what these floating packages of cocaine represent in the bigger scope of drug running PDEA Chief Director General Aquino should also be seriously concerned on how to prevent such huge shipments of ‘shabu’ from entering the country and effect the arrest and neutralization of these drug syndicates who continue to flaunt their ability to circumvent the law.

One troubling implication of these floating cocaine packages is the taking advantage of these drug syndicates of the porous and long open coastlines of our archipelago which admittedly cannot be constantly patrolled 24/7 by our naval and maritime patrols and thus serves as a backdoor for the entry of contraband into the country.

Somehow the government must find a way to increase the vigilance of our naval forces with respect to our porous maritime borders in order to insure that illegal drugs will not be dumped overboard only to find its way along our coastlines and eventually by those who would sell them for profit.

A suggestion worth considering is the deployment not only of fast attack gunboats but also drones which will serve as their eyes in the sky to deter attempts by drug couriers to infiltrate our coastlines. Still another suggestion is for the government to make sure that each span of coastline is monitored closely by those living along these areas.

They can be barangay officials or composite groups from the various enforcement agencies of the government assigned there with duties to patrol and watch over these coastlines. The navy of the AFP should also recruit fishermen who regularly sail the high seas and with the assurance of reward money encourage them to observe and monitor illegal activities in the water and report this back to the authorities.

There is only so much that can be done to prevent the recurrence of illegal drugs being floated along our coastlines but the hardest steps are usually the first ones. What is vital is for the government to utilize all available resources in the fight against illegal drugs before it destroys the nation.


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