IPPO says there are no drug groups in Iloilo but keeps eye on new players

By Jennifer P. Rendon and John Noel E. Herrera

Despite several anti-illegal drug arrests in the province, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) claimed it has not monitored any drug syndicates operating in the area.

“Those arrested are mostly new players. Basically, the illegal drug trade in Iloilo province is a free-for-all activity. No group controls a number of drug pushers plying their trade here,”

Major Rolando Araño, IPPO spokesperson, said.

Araño also noted the big volume of illegal drugs confiscated in the past months.

But Araño said that they’re looking at the matter from a positive light.

“On the brighter side, it speaks about our aggressive operations against illegal drugs. We are doing  intensified monitoring operations to thwart the proliferation of shabu,” he said.

He also noted the active participation of the community in the information gathering and reporting.

On Wednesday evening, more than P350,000 worth of illegal drugs were seized in two anti-illegal drug operations in Iloilo province.

The first operation was conducted around 9:50 p.m. at Barangay Mali-ao, Pavia town.

Novy James Javellana, 25, of Barangay Sinikway, Lapuz, Iloilo City, was arrested after selling a sachet of suspected shabu worth P30,000.

Members of Pavia Municipal Police Station, together with Iloilo Police Provincial Office-Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (IPPO-PDEU) IPPO Provincial Intelligence Unit (PIU), and PNP Drug Enforcement Group, recovered nine more sachets of suspected shabu and several non-drug items.

Major Dadje Delima, Pavia police chief, said the seized drugs was valued at P136,000.

It was gathered that the suspect was a B.S. Criminology student.

But reports claimed that he only enrolled for one semester and did not finish that period.

Javellana told the police that it was supposed to be his last transaction to save money for his enrollment in the coming school year.

Reports indicated that the suspect had been monitored to be involved in illegal drugs since April.

Around 30 minutes after Javellana’s arrest, police arrested another suspected drug pusher in Barotac Viejo town.

Members of Barotac MPS, together with IPPO-PDEU and the 2nd Iloilo Provincial Mobile Force Company, arrested a 45-year old laborer.

Robert Barretta was arrested at his residence at Barangay San Lucas, Barotac Viejo after selling a sachet of suspected shabu.

Recovered from his possession were  15 sachets of suspected shabu and other non-drug items.

The seized drugs has a standard drug price value of P217,600

Both suspects are now detained and will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).


Meanwhile, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., said in a press conference Thursday that he is satisfied with the performance of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) under Police Colonel Ronaldo Palomo.

Defensor cited the positive accomplishment of the IPPO in the campaign against illegal activities, noting that more wanted persons linked to crimes and illegal drugs were arrested recently.

“Yes, we are. He was just awarded as a best performing police director in the region… We are happy with the figures, sa accomplishment sang enforcement sa illegal drugs and fishing,” he said.

A report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) stated that already 98.55 percent of 1,721 total barangays in the province have been cleared of illegal drugs as of May 2023.

The governor, however, noted that “there is always room for improvement” as he still wants IPPO, under Palomo’s leadership, to intensify its campaign against illegal drugs to make the whole Iloilo drug-free.

“That is why we continue to work. Again, balikan naton, sige-sigehon naton, but we must intensify, as much as we can, together with the other stakeholders. We will have a different approach. We will make it a whole of province approach in our campaign against the illegal drugs,” Defensor said.

“Again, nami ang aton accomplishment because pila na lang gid ka baranggays naton ang waay pa naton ma-clear, but, as we said nga nagabalik siya, so ginabalikan man naton ang aton nga ubra so that we can prevent its resurgence kung amu gid man na ang sitwasyon,” he added.

Data from Police Regional Office (RPO)-6 indicated that P87.22 million worth of illegal drugs were seized in Western Visayas from January 1 to May 31, 2023, which includes P12.8 million in Iloilo province.