Selling of drugs now online, says police official

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 10 Dec) – Selling of illegal drugs, in particular methamphetamine hydrochloride or locally known as shabu, has been “upgraded” or has changed its approach, a police officer here said.

The transaction is done through online selling and purchase or through the social media, said Lt. Col. Ramel Hojilla, Kidapawan City PNP director.

Hojilla hinted online selling of illegal drugs is becoming rampant, which makes it difficult for police and anti-drug agents to tract the operations and those behind it.

But Hojilla has yet to validate and verify if online shabu selling is becoming widespread among drug users and couriers here.

“If you ask me if online selling of illegal drugs is rampant, yes, it is. But we have yet to determine the extent of online purchase of shabu among our users and [suspected] couriers here,” he said.

Hojilla admitted that tracking of those involved in such online business is “too difficult.”

“We have to penetrate the social media, the online business, and we have to know the mechanism or system being used here before we could get reliable data and information, which will lead to arrests of those involved,” he stressed.

But while Hojilla pondered on how they could possibly bust the online selling and purchase of illegal drugs, he was ecstatic to announce during the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) meeting that Kidapawan City, his area of responsibility, is already considered “drug-cleared,” based on the standards set by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The city, he said, has no shabu laboratory, marijuana plantation, and those in the drug watch list had already been busted and now placed in different jail facilities here.

Mayor Joseph Evangelista, CPOC chair, said that the declaration of PDEA that the city is already drug-cleared was one of the many factors why the city government got its fourth Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) award from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). This year, the city LGU received cash amounting to P3.5 million for getting the award, the mayor said.

But Hojilla clarified that being “drug-cleared” is different from being “drug-free.”

“When a place is considered ‘drug-free,’ it means drug trafficking is no longer happening. No one is involved in using or selling drugs. But when a place is ‘drug-cleared’, it means, there is still illegal transaction involving drugs. It is just that it has no shabu laboratory and no marijuana plantation, and that those in the watch list are arrested in a month’s time,” the police officer explained. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)