DRUG-SNIFFING K-9s OF PDEA, INSPECT monitor hourly arrivals of hundreds of Cebu passengers landing at the Sibulan port. This is among the possible major trans-shipment outlets of illegal drugs.

With eleven daily trips to Mindanao via Dapitan; 12 daily and hourly trips to Lilo-an and Bato Cebu province; two daily trips to Bohol; six daily flights to and from Manila on two airlines; two flights to Cebu;  and 24/7 daily and hourly trips to Bacolod Negros Occidental and Panay, plus our very open island-wide shoreline, small wonder, Dumaguete city and Negros Oriental, remain as  major trans-shipment points in the illegal drug trade in this part of the country, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency .  The volume of the illegal drug trade could easily run into millions of pesos worth.

The Provence of Negros Oriental remains as a transshipment highway for illegal drugs trade in Central Visayas Region.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Negros Oriental has observed trends suggesting that the province receives shipment of illegal drugs both from Mindanao, neighboring areas of Negros Occidental in the South, and Cebu in the North.

“(Transshipment is) transportation of illegal drugs from Mindanao and kalapit nating mga province (Cebu and Negros Occidental), dito dumadaan sa Negros Oriental,” said Gladys Grace Cruz, PDEA Negros Oriental (PDEA NegOr) Agent-in-charge.

Cruz explains that intensified illegal drug operations at seaports and bus terminals remains as one of their top priority to prevent entry of contrabands in the province.

PDEA NegOr recently conducted series of seaport inspections in Dumaguete City and Sibulan Town, on Feb. 25 and 26 respectively.

In Dumaguete City, passengers bound for Cebu, Bohol, Santander, and Dapitan City in Mindanao were held at the port briefly for a random K9 inspection by Negros Oriental Police Office (NOPPO) Bomb Squad led by PCMS Acabal and PDEA agents.

A similar operation was done at Sibulan Port for passengers bound for Santander, Cebu, with Coastguard Personnel led by SN1 Eddie Bigay.

PDEA NegOr said the two ports are within the metro Dumaguete area where most of the illegal drug hot-spots are located.

Aside from Dumaguete and Sibulan, the agency is monitoring illegal drug operations in the towns of Dauin, Bacong, Amlan, and San Jose.

“Mapansin po natin sa mga hot-spots, marami po ang mga anti-drug operations (in Dumaguete) ng PNP at PDEA and in adjacent cities and municipalities,” Cruz said.

She said the province’s illegal drug problem remains “high” despite continued operations by government agencies forces.

“Medyo mataas po. That’s why we encourage our LGUs, particularly our MADAC, CADAC, or BADAC to cooperate with PDEA,” the agent told Negros Chronicle.

Just this month, PDEA-7 declared additional 13 barangays in the province as Drug Free. Brgy. Binalbagan, Pula, Ninoy Aquino, and Masulog, of Canlaon City, were cleared of drugs.

In Bais City, the Brgys of Canlargo, Cambanhao, Consolacion, Dansulan, Hangyad, Catakgahan, San Isidro, Rosario, and Tamugong were likewise declared drug free.

Dir. Wardley Getalla, Regional Director of PDEA-7 personally declared the said barangays free from drugs in his visit to the province last week.

PDEA declares a barangay free from drugs after tedious evaluation by the Oversight Committee on Brangay Drug Clearing Program composed of the Philippine National Police, Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government and PDEA as chairman.

As of writing, PDEA NegOr has declared at total of 71 barangays in the province as drug free.

Cruz encourage Local Government Units to mobilize their respective Cities or Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council to fight illegal drugs at the grass roots level.

There will be an onsite validation of LGUs and Barangays who applied to be declared drug free by PDEA on March 9-13, 2020 at the Provincial Capitol Grounds. (By RYAN CHRIS SOROTE)