OVER P296 million worth of illegal drugs were seized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the Cordilleras in 2015, mostly marijuana.
The 2015 accomplishment report of PDEA recorded a total of 682,990 pieces of fully grown marijuana plants destroyed including 397,580 pieces of marijuana seedlings; 19,250 grams of marijuana seeds; 189,574 grams of dried marijuana leaves; 709,618 grams of marijuana stalks; and, 402,377 grams of marijuana bricks.
The anti-illegal drug operatives also seized over 143 grams of hashish, 72 grams of marijuana resin oil, 18 pieces of Valium tablets, 10 pieces of Ephedrine tablets, four grams of Ephedrine powder, and 57 grams of cake with marijuana.
Regional Director Juvenal Blanquera Azurin said among the significant accomplishments last year were the dismantling of a marijuana brick processing facility at Sitio Dalipey, Tacadang in Kibungan, Benguet that also led to the burning of over P60 million worth of illegal hemp.
For 2015, PDEA-CAR were able to seize at least 1,412 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or 'shabu,' and nearly half liters of liquid meth.
Last year, authorities were able to conduct 215 anti-drug operations that led to the arrest of 277 drug personalities in the region.
“This is 29% higher compared to 2014 wherein anti-narcotics agents were able to apprehend 214 drug personalities,” Azurin said.
Azurin added several notorious drug personalities were also taken into custody last year such as Revila Domingo Waclin, leader of the Bela Drug Group that operates in La Trinidad and Buguias, Benguet.
Other members of different local drug groups collared by PDEA-CAR in 2015 are Agosto Singwa Paayas, Michael Damia Gatlec, Howard Bugarin Lee, Panda Tambaliwan Riga, Dimal Tamawi Dimala, Bernie Emocling Distor, Patrick Roger Tamayo Catbagan, Hilario Viduya Pineda, and Montilan Alamino Mangoranca.
“There will be no let-up in the campaign against dangerous drugs as PDEA-CAR will continue to suppress the supply of prohibited drugs in the market by intensifying buy-bust and marijuana eradication operations. It will also track down members of local drug groups that are victimizing residents of the Cordilleras,” Azurin noted.
Anti-drug lectures in schools and communities are also lined up in order to veer the youth away from the ill effects of dangerous drugs, he said.
Earlier in February 11 this year, a marijuana eradication operation at Sitio Bekes, Tacadang, Kibungan led to the burning of 53,900 pieces of fully grown marijuana plants; 110,000 grams of dried marijuana stalks; 20,000 grams of dried marijuana leaves and 3,000 grams of marijuana seeds.
The illegal shrubs worth over P27 million were uprooted from ten cultivation sites covering an area of more or less 8,250 square meters.
However, the eradication drive covered by PDEA-CAR’s Operation “Wild Green” netted no cultivator.