Interdiction teams for illegal drugs placed in 2 Mindanao airports

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 December) — Authorities have tightened security measures in two airports in Mindanao to prevent the entry of illegal drugs.

Interdiction teams have been set up since last month at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City and Zamboanga International Airport, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency XI director Adzhar Albani said in a press conference Wednesday.

Aside from PDEA, the team comprises the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs, and Airport Police Station and PNP Aviation Security Unit 11, Albani said.

The team monitors 24/7 so that no illegal drugs will pass through the airport security, he said.

Albani added the same mechanism will be implemented in other airports noting that big shabu shipments have passed through the airport as mails and packages.

“They are the ones who check and apprehend any baggage that possibly contain illegal drugs,” he said.

He said security teams in airports have not been this organized before as they lacked a mechanism to prevent the entry of illegal drugs to the city.

He said they have been alarmed that passengers might slip in illegal drugs through the airport’s mail and parcel system, citing an incident where 19 kilos of shabu from Zamboanga was discovered at the airport in Tawi-Tawi.

“The fact that it passed through the security in Zamboanga airport, it means to say that the security has not been so tight,” he said.

“Pag ang bagahe ay kadudaduda na, binubuksan na (When the baggage looks suspicious, they open it),” he said.

Albani encouraged courier services to coordinate with them in a bid to foil the illegal operations of drug syndicates.

He said the new security measure was implemented only last month following the seizure of 500 grams of shabu from Parañaque and another 200 grams from Ilo-Ilo in the last week of November.

He said the consignee of the shabu from Paranaque lived in Davao Oriental while that of Ilo-Ilo was in Matina, Davao City. Both had been arrested but authorities were still locating the senders.

Albani said some of the the big “clandestine” shabu laboratories operate discreetly in some parts of Mindanao that they need human intelligence to put a dent on their operations.

“Very syndicated ang operations nila,” he said.

Police and the PDEA XI conducted 818 anti-illegal drugs operations leading to the arrest of 1,139 suspects and the confiscation of P55.7 million from January to August 2015.

The police regional office filed 1,052 cases against the suspects for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

The Davao City police office meanwhile launched on Wednesday KATOK Droga (Katilingban og Kapulisan Kontra Droga).

City police spokesperson Senior Insp. Milgrace Driz said a total of 2,371.32 grams of shabu worth P17.157 million and 1,779 grams of marijuana worth P78,000 were confiscated from January to August this year. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)