President Rodrigo Duterte ordered state forces to “double” their efforts in eradicating the narcotics trade to counter big-time syndicates bringing in huge volumes of drugs in the country.
“I am not joking when I say I’m afraid of what might happen to the country if the illegal drug trade continues. It would require more than just double of what we are doing now to cope with the widespread importation or the presence of whatever drugs in the country,” he said.
The President issued the directive following successive drug busts that netted billions worth of illegal narcotics in Zambales, Bataan and Cavite.
Last Thursday, government agents killed two suspected drug dealers and seized P1.58 billion worth of shabu during simultaneous anti-narcotics operations in Imus and Bacoor in Cavite.
Authorities confiscated 182 kilos of shabu worth more than P1.25 billion during the buy-bust operation in Bacoor that resulted in the death of two suspects.
A separate operation in Imus minutes after the Bacoor bust resulted in the arrest of two other drug suspects and the seizure of 48 kilos of shabu worth P331 million.
On Tuesday, members of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Bureau of Customs also conducted a drug operation in Candelaria, Zambales that ended in Bataan, and seized more than P3.4 billion worth of shabu.
The operation also resulted in the killing of four Chinese nationals, including Youhua Xu, who according to Duterte, was a member of a drug ring and a big-time shabu smuggler in the Philippines.
Duterte said aside from the Philippines, the drug syndicate also operates in Southeast Asia and probably has ties with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.
“Nowadays, the seized illegal drugs are worth billions. You would notice that it is seldom mentioned that the drugs are worth about so many millions. We are now talking about billions of pesos,” the President said.
Meanwhile, the PNP said these operations prove that the country is gaining ground in its campaign against illegal drugs.
“Even in the time of the pandemic, these illegal drug traffickers are continuously operating. That is why we also have to step up, and our strong points in these operations are the good coordination and interoperability of five law enforcement agencies led by PDEA under our whole-of-government approach against illegal drugs,” PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in a statement.