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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

PBBM’s anti-drug drive nets P30b

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THE Marcos administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign has so far resulted in the seizure of 7.4 tons of banned substances worth some P30 billion.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Dangerous Drugs, revealed this at the start of the panel’s hearing on House Resolutions 1346 and 1351 authored by Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. and Rep. Jefferson Khonghun, respectively, to investigate the drug hauling incidents in Mexico, Pampanga, and in Subic port.

Officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA), and the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) attended the hearing.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt felicitations to the law enforcement agencies, the PDEA, NBI, PDEG, and the Bureau of Customs, for a very very fruitful campaign against illegal drugs under the administration of President Marcos,” Barbers said in his opening statement.

“All your hard work, diligence and perseverance are bearing positive accomplishments. May you continue your dedication to duty and may none of you be tempted to sell this country and our youth to this evil,” he added.

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Barbers said “from July 1, 2022 – the first day in office of President Marcos Jr. – until today (October 9, 2023), the bloodless anti-drug campaign has hauled almost 4.4 tons of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and almost three tons of dried marijuana leaves.”

The drug haul, with a street value of P30 billion, is enough to fund the election campaign of drug lords, Barbers added.

“This amount can most definitely finance the elections and victory of drug lords in our political arena. Kahit po kampanya pang Presidente, kayang pondohan ng war chest na yan,” Barber explained. (Even a presidential campaign, that war chest can finance it)

“We are fortunate that there are still good law enforcement personnel secure the peace. Although there are a handful who stay from the straight and narrow, so long as we do not become complacent, they will not overcome,” Barberd said.

Of the 4.4 tons of drugs seized, a sizeable amount was just confiscated over the last several weeks: the 200 kilos in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, on August 25; the 560 kilos from the Subic port that was taken to Mexico, Pampanga, on September 24; and the latest, 323 kilos just this October 4 seized at the Manila Internatioal Container Port in Manila.

“In just five weeks, 1.3 tons have already been caught. And this happend during the only one and a half years of the Marcos administration,” Barbers expressed.

“So let’s work together. We will adapt a whole nation approach on this problem. We will help our agencies what they need to carry on their tasks,  and you promise us that you will remain steadfast in the performance of your mandate,” he added.

Gonzales, who filed one of the resolutions being taken up by the committee, expressed deep concern that areas in Pampanga are being used for smuggling illegal drugs.

He said he was saddened saddened that Pampanga has been used in the storage of illegal drugs.

“…For the information of all, the municipality of Mexico, which is under my jurisdiction, is a booming economy in Central Luzon,” Gonzales said.

“The good people of Mexico worked hard to achieve where they are now. And I will not let these incidents hinder future investments and other economic opportunities. We will get to the bottom of this problem and all people involved will have their day in court,” he declared.

Both Barbers and Gonzales vowed to ferret out the names and personalities involved in the smuggling of illegal drugs in the country.

“We will thresh out the whys and hows our country continues to be the favorite destination of illegal drugs and who are the big personalities or even bigger entities behind these shipments to flood us with these contrabands with fictitious and non-existent consignees,” Barbers said.

Gonzales said, “We will dig deeper and uncover the mystery behind this smuggling because I believe that there are personalities who knowingly facilitated this shipment. Maparaan at talagang wala ng takot ang mga smugglers na sumisira sa ating bansa.”

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