PUERTO GALERA, Oriental Mindoro—Tourists have turned Barangay Sabang here into “Little Mabini” red-light district while being tagged as shabu hotspot by authorities as well.
“The drug problem here in our barangay is serious and alarming due to huge presence of foreigners,” Chairman Rockey Ilagan told officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the Department of Justice (DoJ).
PDEA Regional Director Bryan Babang sent his information officer in the meeting and signing of a joint memorandum of agreement.
“Foreign tourists enjoy our 35 internationally-known dive sites, girly bars, floating bars, hotels and restaurants, disco houses, and other night-time activities,” Ilagan said.
Puerto Galera Police Chief Emerson Tarac said cited the “presence of multiple ports of entries due to lack of police personnel.”
Tourists enter Puerto Galera through several small ports located in Sabang, Muelle Bay, Balatero, and White Beach, in Barangay San Isidro.
“And besides, incoming tourists complain of their luggage being opened and inspected, and physically frisked,” Tarac said.
Provincial Prosecutor Josephine Carranzo-Olivar said “consented search, including warrantless arrests, is legal. It’s not anti-tourist, but it’s for security.”
At least 16 out of 37 drug-related criminal cases filed before the office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Calapan City are committed in Puerto Galera, mostly in Sabang, she said.
Gizelle Lano, PDEA public affairs officer, told a press conference that Sabang is listed as “category 1” in the use and trading of shabu or metampethamine hydrochloride.
“Under Category 1 classification, it means that Barangay Sabang is suspected to be the site of marijuana plantation or shabu production in Puerto Galera,” she said.