A TOP official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Northern Mindanao (PDEA) said that shabu, known as the poor man’s cocaine, is sold cheap in Mindanao “like just buying candy.” 

“Shabu is the most in-demand illegal drug in Mindanao because it’s very cheap, almost cheap as buying candy,” said newly-installed PDEA-Northern Mindanao Regional Director Edwin F. Layese.

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“Crazy people don’t use shabu, but many people got crazy because they use shabu,” Layese told reporters in a press conference on Saturday.

Layese led a team of PDEA agents and army personnel from the Fourth Infantry Division in an early morning Saturday raid in Sitio Balongis in Barangay Balulang, which resulted in the arrest of suspected drug pushers, some of them women. 

The Emily Homes neighborhood in Balongis is “one of the biggest drug markets” in Cagayan de Oro, Layese said, “where shabu clients easily come and go.”


The place has five drug dens, he said, where patrons hold pot sessions. 

“Many were caught unawares during the raid as they didn’t expect us to be there as early as 5 a.m.,” Layese said.


The suspects, along with their children who witnessed the raid, were treated humanely, he added. 

A rough estimate of 10 grams shabu, amounting to P70,000, were confiscated along with drug paraphernalia. 

The search warrant for the raid was issued by Judge Jose L. Escobido, the executive magistrate of the regional trial court. 

PDEA-Northern Mindanao identified the 11 arrested suspects as Junairah Macabago, female, 19; Saripia Macabago, 22; Lomala Itoma, 32; Aquino Otto, 36; Sansaru Imam, 36; Macol Macabago, 33; and 15-year-old minor.

At large were Hadja Yasmen  M. Macabago, 40, Patu Muslim and Dawa Macarampat. (Nicole J. Managbanag)