TO PREVENT the continuous marijuana trade, Sadanga, Mountain Province Mayor Gabino Ganggangan issued an executive order banning tourists passing through the municipality bound for Kalinga.
Ganggangan ordered the closure of a municipal road utilized by tourists visiting the neighboring municipality of Tinglayan in Kalinga Province.
"As early as two decades ago, even before the popularity of tattoo artist Whang-od, we noticed that even our bridge connecting Tinglayan passing through the municipality of Sadanga up to Sagada was being used actually as a transhipment road of drug lords manually. These incidents as early as many years ago have worsened especially with the popularity of this tattoo artist Wang-od, which I call tattoo tourist and in effect, it just becoming as a cover or a front for this marijuana and to make it worst, it is also a courier of shabu," Ganggangan said.
The mayor reiterated that if they continue sell marijuana, tourism-based businesses will suffer.
"So what I thought is that if I have to be harsh, then I will do it. I am not prohibiting anybody referring to tourists so I tell them, you better not pass within our area but pass the other way around and the message that I want to tell to those that are affected, I was monitoring their reaction and they were invoking their legality but I told them until and unless they police themselves to stop these things, them your legal business which is the tattoo tourism will get affected," the mayor added.
Police Brigadier General R'win Pagkalinawan, Police Regional Office (PRO)-Cordillera director, welcomed the measure implemented by Sadanga and pointed out consistent law enforcement is one way for the police to pay back and support the campaign against anti-illegal drugs.
"I am very happy that not only the Mayor of Sadanga is supporting us and the uniformed services against insurgency in Mountain Province but also his campaign to rid marijuana cultivators and drug pushers in his area of responsibility. This is where the peace and order situation is based on the mayor's who should lead in the maintenance of peace and order and not the police or the military because they will dictate whether their area should be peaceful or not," Pagkalinawan said.
Buscalan in Kalinga Province was identified by PRO-Cordillera and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as one of the sources of marijuana in the country.