PDEA to “strictly monitor” illegal drugs in Region 11 jails

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 January) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 11 will strictly monitor the jail facilities in Davao Region in a bid to clamp down on possible illegal drug activities of the inmates through surprise search and seizure operations.

PDEA 11 Adzhar Albani told reporters Thursday that it is not acceptable if any of the prisoners would be able to sneak in illegal drugs in jails where the security is supposed to be at the strictest level.

Last Wednesday, a joint operation between PDEA and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) was conducted at the latter’s jail facility in Maa, Davao City. No illegal drug was found, he said.

Albani said he has yet to get an inventory of jails run by the BJMP, city and municipal governments, and Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) around the region.

“We will conduct surprise operations if we receive an intelligence report that some of the inmates are using illegal drugs,” he said.

He said there is an existing memorandum of agreement between PDEA and BJMP that allows special operations inside jail facilities at anytime.

He said he cannot say for sure that all jails in the region are clear of illegal drugs, hence the operations as a preventive measure.

“We’re not proclaiming that Davao Region is drug-free,” he said.

He said that there has been no report of any clandestine shabu laboraty operating in the region but they are doing all they can to prevent the entry of illegal drug lords in the region.

Interdiction teams have been set up November 2015 at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport and Zamboanga International Airport to prevent the entry of illegal drugs.

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 as 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. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)