ANTI–NARCOTICS agents in the Cordillera region arrested 179 drug personalities and has filed 150 cases during the first six months of 2019.
Edgar Hafalla, regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) - Cordillera said during the recent Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) meeting said of the 179 drug personalities arrested, 30 were considered as High Value Targets (HVT) and are now facing criminal cases in court.
In various operations such as “Oplan Huliweek and Harabas” conducted in coordination with different government agencies, five persons involved in the transport services as drug users were recommended to the Department of Health for drug rehabilitation, while three minors in Kalinga and one in Benguet were rescued by the agency.
Two of the minors arrested in Tabuk City, Kalinga were apprehended after trying to sneak in marijuana inside the Tabuk District Jail.
Hafalla added 65 barangays in the region remain drug affected.
Baguio City has eight previously categorized by the oversight committee as drug affected with two slightly affected, and one moderately affected, but are still under the process of clearing.
The PDEA official reported shabu remains to be the drug of choice in the region followed by marijuana based on the personalities arrested and confiscated drugs from January to May of this year.
Shabu costs P19,000 to P23,000 per kilo based on accounts by drug personalities arrested adding the supply line entering the Cordillera comes from the National Capital Region and the Calabarzon area through the use public utility vehicles and private vehicles.
In Tinglayan, Kalinga, PDEA recorded marijuana buyers directly purchase from the cultivators, while some pose as local tourist wanting to have a tattoo and buy marijuana.
A swapping of shabu and marijuana have also been observed between local tourists from the lowlands with suspected cultivators and pushers of marijuana in the hinterlands of Tinglayan, Kalinga.
Big time drug groups and syndicates conducts the purchasing of illegal drugs by using purchasers to avoid being caught, or by using sophisticated means such as bank to bank transactions wherein buyers are required to deposit money to a bank account before any delivery may be done.
Bus helpers and drivers have also been used to ferry illegal drugs based on the recent apprehension in Abra Province where a considerable amount of shabu was sent through a bus.
Marijuana cultivation was reported in the hinterlands of Tinglayan, Kalinga, Kibungan and Bakun in Benguet, and 1 reported eradication in Bauko, Mountain Province.
PDEA Cordillera also received unconfirmed reports of some doctors from the lowlands allegedly coming up to the Cordillera region to buy marijuana hash oil believing in its healing wonder.