DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday, November 30, 2020, said drug users were shifting to marijuana as supply of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) tightens.
He made the observation during the weekly meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening, after police seized over P15 million worth of marijuana in Quezon City over the weekend and discovered three marijuana plantations in Benguet where 28,800 marijuana trees worth over P5 million were burned.
“Amin pong napansin na dahil din sa kahirapang makakuha ng shabu, mukhang unti-unting bumabalik naman po sa paggamit ng marijuana ang ating mga — ang mga drug addict,” he said in a televised press briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Debold Sinas, however, said shabu remained the top pick of drug users while the use of party drugs declined during the pandemic.
"Napansin n’yo? I will speak on the experience of NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO). Marami kami nahuli puro shabu and marijuana and party drugs biglang nawala kasi usually ginagamit ‘yan kapag may mga disco, high profile parties, disco house. Sa ngayon kasi nawala yun kaya napansin niyo bihira or wala na ata masyado nahuli,” he said in a press conference in Camp Crame.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said that from July 1, 2016 to October 31, 2020, anti-narcotics operatives seized P56.26 billion worth of illegal drugs.
These included over seven million kilograms of shabu with an estimated value of P46.42 billion, 523.13 kilograms of cocaine, 83,403 pieces of ecstacy and 3,456.41 kilograms of marijuana leaves.
Some have already been destroyed through thermal decomposition in a facility in Cavite.
PDEA said 631 drug dens and 17 clandestine laboratories were dismantled during the conduct of 183,525 anti-illegal drugs operations during the said period.
It said a total of 266,126 drug personalities were arrested during the said operations, including 909 government employees, elected officials and uniformed personnel while 5,942 were killed.
PDEA said 3,418 children were rescued in the said operations. They were used as drug pushers, cultivators of marijuana leaves, drug den or clandestine laboratory maintainers or employees and runners.
A total of 20,538 barangays have been cleared from drugs.
PDEA is set to destroy another batch of seized illegal drugs on Thursday, December 3, 2020. (SunStar Philippines)