PDEA, PNP on alert vs illegal drug trade as fiesta draws near
By Jason B. Neola
The provincial head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Camarines Sur told the city council in a meeting on Monday, July 11, that his office is continuously monitoring the engagements of drug syndicates in the city where the biggest Marian festival in Asia is traditionally being held every year.
Mark Anthony Viray, PDEA Camarines Sur chief, said that his office is expecting that big deals on prohibited drugs are likely to happen in the city during the celebration of the fiesta in September this year, the 312th year of devotion to the Our lady of Peñafrancia.
In a meeting with Vice Mayor Cecilia V. de Asis and city councilors, Viray said that the PDEA in the province has begun conducting a series of intensified anti-illegal drugs operations that will lead to the arrest of drug personalities who may have planned to pursue their nefarious trade during the Peñafrancia fiesta.
He told the city officials that one of the factors why Naga appears to be the preferred place for illicit drug deals is that the city is a center of commerce where drug personalities can discreetly meet aside from being an ideal transshipment point to Visayas and Mindanao provinces.
It would be observed that anti-illegal drug operations in the city by combined teams of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and PDEA personnel led to the confiscation of packages of crystal meth in previous months.
Reports also said that the operatives were able to seize a kilo of the prohibited drugs in their operations conducted in Barangay Peñafrancia and more than P4-million worth of the substance in Barangay Bagumbayan Norte.
In an interview, Councilor Omar Buenafe, a retired police general and former PNP Bicol regional director, said that he is confident that the PNP and PDEA along with other enforcement agencies can handle the significant problem on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city.
He even called on the barangay officials to actively take part in the fight against illegal drugs as criminals continue their nefarious activities.