AN OFFICIAL of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agent (PDEA)-Davao expressed apprehension about the safety of their agents since the areas they are heavily monitoring in Davao City are also classified as high-risk for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
PDEA-Davao Assistant Regional Director Lawyer Ben Joseph Tesiorna, in a virtual presser on Thursday afternoon, June 4, said the barangays, which recorded most of their apprehended drug suspects, are Barangay Buhangin, 76-A, Task Force Lasang, Agdao, TF Sirawan/31-D, Leon Garcia, Sasa, Ilang, R. Castillo, and Matina.
It can be recalled that the City Government of Davao placed Buhangin Proper and Leon Garcia as very high risk areas due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases.
Due to the risk of contracting the viral disease during their operation in the areas, Tesiorna said they likewise imposed precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their personnel.
“Maybe what we can do, dili siguro mi as much as possible dili mi musulod tong barangays (we will not enter the barangays) which have been declared as high-risk barangays,” Tesiorna said.
He added, “But we will try to arrest these persons kung naa sila sa gawas because mas less risky para namo kay kung musulod man gud mi sa barangay, wala ta kabalo who among those people there are Covid positive (if they are outside their barangay to lessen the risk on our part because if we will push our operation inside we don’t know who among those people are infected).”
Tesiorna said they will just create a strategy to apprehend the drug suspects when they are outside their barangays.
“But if we will be given no other choice, lusobon nalang namo after ana mangaligo nalang mi human sa operations (we will conduct operation and take a bath after the operation),” he added.
During the almost three months quarantine in Davao Region, Tesiorna said they conducted only seven drug operations and most of the anti-drug operations are carried out by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“The reason why our operations are limited, our jail facilities are already full and we do not want to take the risk of mixing those recently arrested with the detainees to our jail facility to prevent contamination,” Tesiorna said.
He added that they have already tested their detainees and their jail guards through the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and all of them tested negative for Sars-CoV-2, the pathogen causing Covid-19. Thus, they are hoping to transfer the custody to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to decongest their jail facility so they can resume their operations.