MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) through its Regional Office based in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) guaranteed the public that it is combatting illegal drugs in the province of Lanao del Sur and will keep going despite the challenges they encounter.
PDEA-BARMM Chief Operations Marlon Santos stated that they are still up in pushing for their programs in communities.
“In close coordination with the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC), Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) at [and] Philippine National Police (PNP), tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang implementation natin sa barangay program [our implementation of barangay programs is continuous],” he said in the joint meeting of Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC)-PADAC on June 22.
Santos has earlier disclosed that local drug syndicates found in its areas of responsibility sourced out illegal drugs, specifically ‘shabu’, from Chinese Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) based in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Regions 3 and 4A while others were reported as smuggled through the Malay-BASULTA-Zamboanga entry point.
Such a drug trend also showed that financial institutions such as banks and other forms of money transfer were used in facilitating drug transactions and others were concealed in tea bags, sandals, cellular phones, and vehicles.
Drug syndicates were likewise reported to have employed armed groups by providing logistical and financial support to protect business interests while drugs are believed to be adulterated to increase volume and profit.
Amidst all these findings, he said in their battle against the proliferation of illegal drugs, they face some problems and challenges such as the lack of Balay Silangan Reformation Center to accommodate surrendered drug pushers and those who have availed of the “plea bargain”, limited financial support from some LGUs for the establishment of the appropriate facility, lack of alternative livelihood program for qualified drug surrenderees, late or non-submission of barangay ADAC watchlist, the low performance of ADAC, and poor or faulty implementation of a community-based rehabilitation program or Matrix Intensive Outpatient Program (MIOP).
Nonetheless, Santos stressed that they strive to meet its goals and aspirations.
“Ang [Our] opisina namin will continue to make efforts and conduct operations to fight illegal drugs despite the lack of manpower and equipment,” said Santos.
As of the second quarter this year, the PDEA-BARMM presented that out of 39 municipalities and one city in the province here, nine were logged as candidate municipalities to be declared as drug-cleared which included the towns of Canalogas, Kapatagan, Lumbatan, Piagapo, Masiu, Madalum, Pagayawan, Amai Manabilang and Kapai. (CRG/PIA-Lanao del Sur)
PDEA-BARMM Chief Operations Marlon Santos presents the challenges encountered by his office in their battle against illegal drugs in the province of Lanao del Sur. (Michael John Paclar/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)