GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 September) – Police and government anti-drug operatives in South Cotabato have arrested at least 168 suspected illegal drug traffickers and couriers in various anti-drug operations in the area in the first seven months of the year.
Eduardo Siason, action officer of the South Cotabato Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC), said a report submitted to the council by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 12 noted that the drug suspects were rounded up in at least 114 successful anti-drug operations launched in the province from January to July.
He said five of the suspects were included in PDEA’s watch list, three from its target list while the 160 others were new violators.
“All these suspects are in jail and are facing various illegal drug charges,” Siason said.
Of the 114 operations, Siason said 62 were conducted by the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office, 39 by PDEA and 12 were jointly launched.
He said topping the list of the operations was drug buy-bust or entrapment with 81 followed by search and seizure with 28, marijuana eradication with four and interdiction with one.
During these operations, he said PDEA and police agents recovered at least P500,000 worth of illegal drugs composed of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and marijuana plants, dried seedlings, sticks and cigarettes.
“Based on these accomplishments, we can say that our ongoing anti-drug campaign in the province has been very effective so far,” Siason said.
He said PDEA Director Dionisio Santiago lauded the area’s accomplishments, especially in the implementation of various strategies to vitalize the campaign against illegal drugs, during a recent visit in the province.
Siason said among those cited by Santiago were the current reward system for successful anti-drug operations, the conduct of the search for the most outstanding barangay and municipal anti-drug abuse councils and the strengthening of information and education campaign against illegal drugs among students in the area. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)