GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 July) — Government anti-drug operatives are closely watching several high schools, colleges and universities here and nearby Koronadal City due to the reported rise in illegal drug supplies in these areas during the past weeks.
Jose Esparcia, intelligence officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 12, said Thursday they deployed additional agents in strategic areas within the two cities following the noted increase in demand and supply of illegal drugs since classes started last month.
“We intensified our monitoring in these two key cities as they emerged so far as among the rising markets of illegal drugs in the region,” he said in a radio interview.
Esparcia said shabu or metamphetamine hydrochloride turned out to be the number one choice of drug users in the area followed closely by marijuana.
He said their monitoring since last year showed a rising trend in terms of demand and the number of users among college students in the area.
Last year, PDEA agents rounded up several nursing students in the city who were allegedly caught in the act of using shabu.
Esparcia said they also monitored some high school students in the city who started to get hooked on shabu.
During the random drug tests conducted by the Department of Education last year, a high school student from the city failed the test and was later confirmed to have been using shabu.
In Koronadal City, police authorities have also been monitoring some boarding houses and entertainment areas frequented by students due to the reported proliferation of illegal drugs.
“There are no specific drop-off points here but most drug suppliers or pushers have reportedly been targeting these boarding houses and entertainment establishments where students usually gather after their classes,”” said Supt. Anecito Ambay, Koronadal City police director.
Ambay said he already assigned some of his personnel to monitor some boarding houses and vicinities of schools, colleges and universities in the city for the presence of suspected drug pushers.
“The situation is quite alarming since these drug pushers are already targeting even our teenagers,” he said.
Koronadal Mayor Peter Miguel also expressed alarm over the situation and vowed to include the anti-drug campaign as a part of his priority peace and order initiatives.
“I will coordinate with PDEA officials regarding the drug situation here, especially its extent and the status of their anti-drug operations,” he said.
The mayor added he wants the reported proliferation of illegal drugs in the city effectively stopped before it results to other problems, especially in terms of criminality. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)