Drug free dinagyang pdea 6 secures ports to deter entry of narcotics

By: Gail T. Momblan

SECURING the ports in the region will prevent the entry of drugs and other illegal substances this Dinagyang season, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Western Visayas said.

Alex M. Tablate, officer-in-charge of PDEA-6, said the influx of tourists during the festival will attract illegal drug traders.

“May ganitong mga events, dagsa ang tawo. So pag madaming tao, daming turista, doon diin mima-maximize ng mga kalaban natin,” he added.

But he assured the agency “will do its part” to curb illegalities.

“Tututukan talaga natin pero alam naman natin na ang kalabanan natin ang may mga initiative yan pero rest assured, ang PDEA and PNP at tututok dyan,” Tablate said

Tablate said that their continuous monitoring on seaports and airports that serve as drug-gateway already started last month.

Three of the PDEA’s K-9 units conduct regular inspection at major ports. Tablate hopes that additional units will be provided by March.

“In fact, kahapon lang nagkaroon tayo ng paneling doon sa Dumangas port and early this morning we also conducted K9 panelling dito sa airport,” he said.

Tablate said that the region is prone to the entry of drugs because of its geographical situation.

“Panay is like Region 8 ‘yan eh na island, we expect na ang daming pwede pasukan,” he added.

The community, therefore, has a role to play in ensuring a “drug-free” Dinagyang festival.

The buy-bust operation in Barangay Estatanzuela, Iloilo City on Jan 8 that led to the arrest of Janice Pansoy, 22, and Raymond Baclado, both of Cebu, became successful because of the help from the residents.

“Doon sa operation na yon if may I recall it right, sinabi ng isang ininterview doon na it was because naging successful yong because of the tip given galing mismo doon sa barngay nila,” Tablate said.

The PDEA-6, Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU) and Iloilo City Police Station 1 seized P750,000 worth of illegal drugs that was allegedly reserved for Dinagyang festival.

“This is not only a challenge for PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies , challenge din to sacommunity natin kasi in reality alam naman natin na ang role ng community is very crucial ‘yan with regard sa mga information na pwede nilang ibigay sa mga law enforcement,” he said.

Meanwhile, the illegal drug trade situation in the region “improved” compared to the previous years.

“Kung i-compare natin previous years at noong time na ni President Rodridgo Duterte… so may change talagang malaki but then mayroon pa rin na matitigas ang ulo,” Tablate said.