Police seize P1-M marijuana in T’boli protected area

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 February) – Police personnel in South Cotabato province destroyed over the weekend about P1 million worth of marijuana that were recovered from upland plantations located within a protected area in T’boli town.

Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said Monday the marijuana stocks were seized in separate raids conducted by combined police units in Sitios Culi and Blo of Barangay Salacafe of T’boli, which is part of the 102,350-hectare Allah Valley Protected Landscape.

Barangay Salacafe is the closest village to Mt. Melebengoy (formerly Parker) and critical crater-lake Holon (formerly Maughan).

Delfin said the raiders were composed of personnel from the 4th police maneuvering company, provincial public safety company, special action force and police intelligence operatives.

Based on an inventory report submitted by the raiding team, the seized marijuana in Sitio Blo comprised around 2,800 fully-grown plants, 6,500 seedlings and a kilo of packed marijuana sticks.

In Sitio Culi, the team uprooted about a thousand fully-grown marijuana plants and 3,000 other seedlings.

Police investigators were still verifying the identities of the owners of the marijuana plantations and the two firearms that were found in one of the sites.

Authorities had identified the mountainous areas of T’boli, Tampakan, Polomolok and Tupi towns as among the top sources of marijuana that have been proliferating in the province.

Earlier this month, elements from the Koronadal City police station and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 12 arrested 16 people, including a teacher and several students of a public high school, following a raid on an alleged drug den in the area.

Meantime, South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. lauded the discovery of the marijuana plantation and urged police authorities to identify and file the necessary charges against their owners.

The governor assured that the local government will continue to support the local police’s anti-drug operations, especially the provision of financial incentives for accomplishments in the campaign against illegal drugs.

The Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council, which is chaired by Pingoy, had launched an incentive scheme that provides cash grants to local police units for successful anti-drug operations. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)