PDEA-12 vows to go after high-value targets

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Jan) – Anti-drug operatives in Region 12 vowed to run after high-value targets or top personalities involved in illegal drug activities in the area.

Aileen Lovitos, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 12 director, said they are currently strengthening their intelligence networks across the region as part of their continuing information buildup against big time illegal drug syndicates and suspected drug personalities.

“We’ve been receiving a lot of reports and tips from concerned residents regarding illegal drug activities and rest assured that these are being evaluated and verified by our personnel,” she said.

The official said they initially shifted their focus last year on the “high-value targets” based on a directive from PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac.

In a briefer, PDEA said the high-value target drug personalities include those involved in priority targets and drug groups; elected and appointed government officials, employees and law enforcers; foreign nationals; wanted listed personalities; celebrities and other well-known individuals; and members of armed groups.

In Region 12, Lovitos said they arrested four policemen and a member of the Philippine Army in a series of operations last year.

She said the Army member and three of the policemen were arrested in separate buy-bust operations in this city while another policeman was nabbed in Polomolok town in South Cotabato.

The four policemen and the Army member have all been dismissed from active service and are presently facing charges in local courts, she said.

Last month, the official said regional police operatives arrested a barangay chair of Banga town in South Cotabato who was tagged as behind the distribution of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in the area.

The raid, which was conducted on Punong Grande barangay chair Bobby Delalamon’s house, reportedly yielded several sachets of suspected shabu.

“It was a major accomplishment of our police operatives as they were able to confirm the official’s involvement in illegal drug activities,” she said.

Aside from the neutralization of high-value targets, Lovitos said their campaign will focus on the dismantling of clandestine laboratories and chemical warehouses, eradication operations, dismantling of drug dens and shabu tiangges, interdiction operations, controlled delivery operations and high volume seizures.

She said they will also intensify their information dissemination, awareness and education campaigns within the region.

In coordination with the Department of Education, she said they will expand their regular awareness sessions in local schools.

“We’re targeting to expand our awareness campaigns in all barangays in Region 12, with the youth as specific audience,” she added.