THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Davao Region assured the public that they are working harder for a drug-free region by conducting operations round-the-clock.

This developed after the arrest of 29 suspected drug pushers in the Saturday dawn raid in Barangay 31-D by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Davao Region and Davao City Police Office.

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PDEA Regional Director Roybel Sanchez said they are validating information about the existence of a shabu laboratory in the city.

"We are conducting surveillance monitoring and so far lahat yan negative, so walang shabu laboratory sa Davao," Sanchez said adding they are also checking the areas of Sasa, Tibungco and Torres for any illegal drug activities.

Sanchez also denied allegations that there is increase in illegal drug activities.

"Marami kaming nahuli pero hindi ibig sabihin na dumami ang gumagamit ang drugs; nagdouble-time lang kami sa pagtatrabaho," he said.

He also lauded the recent operations of the CIDG-Davao Region in Barangay 31-D saying that's the kind of support we need from other law enforcement agencies.

Supply reduction

Since January, Sanchez said they have already conducted 116 operations and have arrested a total of 146 people. A total of 114 cases have been filed in the Davao Region as of date.

He said the operation continues until all drug pushers are jailed adding almost 90 percent who were charged cannot be freed.

The agency conducts operations seeking drug pushers all over the region as part of their supply reduction program.

Last month, they arrested a shabu king known as Alias Manad who was in possession of 16.7 grams of suspected shabu worth P167,000. He is in jail with a non-bailable case.

In the previous months, PDEA also arrested one alias Ali on Boulevard, this city for selling dangerous drugs, possession of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and illegal guns.

On June 26, they conducted an operation in the mountains of Kiblawan, where they confiscated 14,000 fully grown marijuana plants and 14,900 marijuana seedlings worth more than P3 million in total.

"(In the city) maraming nagbebenta, kwarto pinapaupahan, P10-P15 per session," Sanchez said.

On the recent raid of the CIDG in Barangay 31-D, seven people were positively identified operating a shabu den. Cases were already filed against them while one is still at large.

Demand reduction

PDEA also implemented the Demand Reduction Program or Drug Prevention Program along with the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DOE).

Sanchez said as some drug pushers target students, the agency gives lectures and seminars to schools, and also to barangays and workplaces.

"PDEA can't win the war against drugs by itself. We need the help of other agencies, local government units, and students and their teachers in the Anti-Drug Campaign," Sanchez said.

"Everybody should be involved in the war against drugs," Sanchez said adding you can trust the PDEA na hindi kami magpapahinga."

Just recently, they have conducted a three-day drug awareness program for Holy Cross of Davao College students. Since January, they already have conducted 128 lectures, seminars, symposia, reaching a total of 20,524 participants. (Richard B. Batulan and Marie Angeli A. Laxa)