By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY --- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Bicol welcomed the directive of Pres. Duterte restoring the role of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the government’s war against drugs.
“The PDEA welcomes this development, restoring the role of the PNP in the government’s fight against illegal drugs,” Christian Frivaldo, PDEA regional director, said yesterday, Dec 6.
Frivaldo in an interview said this development would further strengthen cooperation and collaboration among law enforcement units in the investigation and intelligence gathering operation in the best interest of the anti-illegal drug campaign of the national government.
“With a well-coordinated and synchronize system of operation between the agency and the PNP, I don’t see how we would fail,” the PDEA director added.
Frivaldo said he hopes that such collaboration and support obtaining will also amplify among local government officials in the demand reduction side of the campaign while the agency and the police would focus more on the supply reduction side.
“We in the PDEA are committed to fighting for the future of every family as the foundation of our nation,” he said.
He said when the agency took over the control of the drug campaign with only 40 operatives since October this year, it has seized 4,615.8 grams of Shabu (crystal meth) in various buy-bust operations in Bicol with a total street value at P23M.
Among this successful operations were the arrest of major illegal drug suppliers from Manila that included two Nigerian nationals who yielded more than a kilo of shabu worth P6M.
PDEA also arrested four drug traders in this city considered as high-value targets and seized P9M worth of shabu following a buy-bust operation.
Frivaldo emphasized that “our operations are focused on the supply reduction as we continue to pursue and arrest major drug suppliers.”
“While we are putting more pressure on reducing the drug supply we urge the various local government drug enforcers to take the necessary measure to assist in bringing down the demand for drugs,” Frivaldo said.
Meanwhile, Senior Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, when asked about restoring the police role in the government war on drugs said: “We are still waiting for the guidelines on how to operationalize again the anti-illegal drug operations considering that PDEA remains to be the overall lead agency.”
Records from the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) indicate that so far in Bicol, 84,000 had either surrendered or were arrested during buy-bust operations.
Of the total number, 77,338, or 92 percent, were classified as users while 6,611 or 8 percent, as pushers.
At least 97 persons who reportedly resisted arrest and fought back at police operatives were killed in Bicol as of the latest reporting period.