P200M illegal drugs confiscated, destroyed in Bukidnon in 2011 – PDEA

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/27 January) – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported that about P199.734-million worth of illegal drugs were confiscated and eradicated in Bukidnon in 2011.

A total of P183.346 million is attributed to marijuana eradication, referring to the output of three operations, while P16.387 million is estimated for the 15 operations yielding shabu, PDEA’s accomplishment report said.

PDEA also reported the conduct of 21 anti-drug awareness seminars and symposia to curb the demand for illegal drugs in the province.

The report was released amid the confirmation of Malaybalay City Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri this week that eight of his staff members have resigned after they were found to have used shabu during office hours while in their office uniforms. PDEA Bukidnon admitted they were in possession of six video footages that captured the employees using shabu.

Sources said Gov. Alex Calingasan has looked at two provincial government employees reported to be in the videos.

PDEA Bukidnon reported the increasing prevalence of government officials and employees using illegal drugs, based on their past and ongoing surveillance.

In 2010, PDEA Bukidnon reported that the drug menace has bothered 114 of Bukidnon’s 464 barangays with about 99 villages and two towns “moderately affected,” and two other towns as “seriously affected.”

“This means one in every four barangays in the province are in the PDEA watch list,” a PDEA official who asked not to be named told members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

He said Bukidnon has 12 “slightly affected barangays” or those areas where there are not only users but also the presence of a drug trader; 99 are “moderately affected” or where there are both users and several pushers; and about three are classified “seriously affected, or those “where there is a drug den or clandestine places where prohibited drugs are sold and consumed.”

The data shows there are more barangays that have both users and pushers.

Bukidnon’s 114 barangays comprise about 28 percent of the total number of barangays in the PDEA-10’s drug list of 412 all over the region. Bukidnon had the highest number of “moderately affected barangays” in 2010.

The source did not identify all barangays but cited that in Malaybalay among the affected villages considered as “moderately affected” for marijuana and shabu are barangays Casisang, Midlamin, and Barangay 1. He also named Barangay 9 in Malaybalay City as a “seriously affected barangay.”

In Valencia City, he named barangays Bagonta-as, Batangan, Guinuyoran, Laligan, Lumbo, and Lurugan as moderately affected. He named barangays Sinayawan, Sugod, and Vintar as moderately affected for marijuana. He also named Valencia’s Poblacion barangay as a “seriously affected barangay.”

The source said that even as marijuana and shabu are a menace in Bukidnon’s two cities, it is more rampant in Valencia than in Malaybalay.

But he said topping the watch list are the towns of San Fernando and Cabanglasan, which host the biggest plantations of marijuana in Northern Mindanao.

Also in the list of “seriously affected towns” are the municipalities of Baungon and Talakag and the towns of Manolo Fortich and Quezon as “moderately affected towns.”

He clarified then that users in Cagayan de Oro come to Baungon to buy shabu. He told board member and former Baungon mayor Rogelio Lago that pushers are based in the town. He said the trend is that because it is getting more difficult to trade and use drugs in the bigger cities, users and traders do this in rural areas like Baungon where they think enforcement is weak. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)