CEBU, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas considers the police operations against illegal drugs a “success,” with the drug supply in the region cut by as much as 60 percent in just a year.
“I can say, we are very successful sa atong anti- illegal drugs campaign if we based on the distribution sa drugs karon,” said PDEA Director Yogi Felimon Ruiz said.
Ruiz said the region’s bigtime drug peddlers have reportedly seized their illegal operations following the government’s intensified anti-illegal drug operations.
At present, he said only seven of the 19 notorious bigtime players have remained, but are now being hunted down.
“Ang mga bigtime players kay nagsin-undangay na sila, so ang nagpabilin kato nalang gyud ang mga nag-think nga untouchable sila pero right now sa administration ni Duterte wala’y untouchable. But ato ni silang gigukod karon,” he said.
He denied allegations that PDEA is only after the smalltime drug pushers.
He cited the recent arrest of bigtime drug players – 41-year-old June Christopher Cobrado and businesswoman Marie Ann Maglasang – in San Francisco town, Camotes Islands. Seized from their possession was 1,052 grams of shabu worth P4.1 million.
“Dili ko motuo because kani sila (Cobrado and Maglasang) they are big players. Mas dako pa ni sila ni Jaguar (alleged slain drug lord Jaguar Diaz) gani,” he said.
Ruiz said level 2 drug peddlers or distributors like Cobrado and Maglasang are operating in rural areas, while drug pushers identified as level 1 are maneuvering the urban areas.
Level 3, on the other hand, are those manufacturers who can dispose of around 200 grams of shabu per week.
“The level 1 pushers are now distributing in hotels, inns unlike before nga adto lang sa mga balay,” Ruiz said.
For the months of May and June, PDEA-7 arrested several drug personalities for operating drug dens inside hotels and inns in Cebu City.
Moreover, Ruiz said the prices of illegal drugs, especially shabu, have now gone higher, indicating scarcity in the market.
“Ang drugs nagkamahal, kay nagkanihit ang supply sa market,” he said.
He said a large pack of shabu, for instance, is now sold at P15,000 from the street price of P6,500 before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in July last year.
Duterte has promised to wage a bloody war against drug traffickers and to suppress the narcotics trade within his term.
Ruiz said the tougher war on drugs in the region couldn’t be successful without the full support of the present administration.
“Now, we are seeing the support of the national government. I’m not comparing pero grabe ang suporta karon in terms sa logistics and funds. Makita ang improvement sa security and personnel,” he said.
Ruiz, however, admitted that the low admission of drug surrenderers for rehabilitation is affecting their anti-illegal drug efforts.
“Diha ta naglisod because they are hesitant to undergo rehabilitation because they are thinking nga once they undergo rehab naa na’y sayop sa ilang kaugalingon, but I think it’s time nga i-accept nato kaning mga tawo and i-accept nila ilang kaugalingon para matabangan sila,” he said. —/KBQ (FREEMAN)