As law enforcement authorities shifted to a higher gear in the government’s anti-drug campaign, about P4.25 million worth of suspected illegal drugs were seized in operations over the weekend.
One such raid was conducted at a storage facility in Taguig City in Metro Manila, where suspected cocaine worth P2.65 million was reported confiscated.
Authorities on Sunday also reported grabbing large quantities of suspected “shabu” (crystal meth) estimated to cost more than P1.6 million in anti-illegal drug operations in different parts of the country.
The Department of Interior and Local Government earlier announced that some P9.7 billion worth of illegal drugs were confiscated by the police and other law enforcement agencies since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed office in July this year.
The authorities conducted 18,505 anti-narcotics operations which also resulted in the arrest of 22,646 individuals engaged in drug dealing, and other illegal activities during that period.
In Taguig, elements of the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency swooped down on a warehouse in the city and seized 500 grams of suspected cocaine.
Armed with a Letter of Authority signed by Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the team coordinated with the Philippine National Police and visited a storage facility in East Service Road, Taguig City on November 22.
Agents were reported to have uncovered at least 500 grams of suspected cocaine worth P2.65 million, various e-cigarettes or vape cartridges containing suspected marijuana oil, and more or less 30 grams of suspected kush (hybrid marijuana).
Other items seized included identification cards, a small transparent glass and plastic tube container with suspected marijuana oil, assorted paraphernalia, one bag of empty capsules, and several bags with a residue of suspected illegal drugs.
The pieces of evidence were turned over to PDEA Laboratory Service for examination and filing of appropriate charges.
In Bataan, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives and police seized P731,200 worth of suspected shabu from a man in Barangay Gabon, Abucay town.
The suspect, considered a “high-value target,” has been under surveillance since September after authorities received a tip from a concerned citizen about the illegal drug trade in the barangay (village), authorities said.
In other parts of the country, in Oriental Mindoro, personnel from the PDEA-Mimaropa office arrested a suspect identified as Louie Miraflores Ereve, who yielded P325,000 worth of suspected shabu during a buy-bust operation in Pola town.
The suspect works outside the province but comes home to occasionally sell illegal drugs, PDEA agents said.
He previously had a job at the Pola municipal disaster office but was terminated, authorities said.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs turned over P12.5 million worth of alleged contrabands to the PDEA in Central Luzon last Thursday.
The contrabands include mostly illegal drugs confiscated from the Port of Clark from March to November this year.
The drugs were packaged as massage oil, candies, and toys until they were discovered through X-ray inspection and shipment profiling, the BOC said.
In Talisay City, Cebu, police nabbed a female suspect and confiscated some P578,000 worth of suspected shabu during a buy-bust operation.
Talisay police chief Lt. Col. Randy Caballes said the suspect was also arrested due to illegal drugs in January 2017.
“She availed (herself of) the plea bargaining and was released from prison last December 2019,” Caballes said, adding that police investigation revealed the suspect returned to selling illegal drugs after she was freed.
“She get[s] her supplies of shabu from a certain Keir as the middleman, who is currently incarcerated at Cebu City Jail,” Caballes said.
The suspects will be charged with violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said its Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) program aims to clamp down the demand in drugs through communities.
This is a 180-degree turn from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr’s predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte, whose drug war killed
thousands of people and was marked by alleged human rights violations.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said the drug war under the current administration must be hinged on human rights and the Constitution.
While Abalos Jr. vowed to put drug dealers behind bars, BIDA is anchored on physical activities and cooperation from the grassroots level to deter drug use and protect human lives.
“We will enforce the law and fill the jails with people like you who destroy the future of the youth and the families,” Abalos warned drug pushers and dealers before thousands of supporters who attended the grand launching at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
But for those who want to turn over a new leaf, Abalos gave assurances the government was ready to help them through drug rehabilitation and livelihood training programs to help them lead productive and drug-free lives.
“Let’s work together, that’s what we ask. Life is truly worth living. Say no to drugs and let’s all be heroes against illegal drugs,” he said.