No big player in Iloilo’s drug trade, for now

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency members inspect baggage and cargoes at the Dumangas port in Iloilo in September 2019 to check the movement of illegal drugs and other contrabands. The port has long been considered a transhipment point for drugs. (PDEA-6 photo)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon 

UNDOUBTEDLY, the illegal drug trade is still active in Iloilo province.

In fact, two persons were arrested in separate buy-bust operations on Oct. 6, 2019.

But the suspects, a carwash employee and a palay weighing assistant, are far from being called big players in the illegal drug trade.

Minyver Vhon Dave Decida, 30, of Barangay PD Monfort South, Dumangas, was arrested 2:45 p.m. Sunday at PD Montfort North village.

Police Major Joven Arevalo, Dumangas police chief, said four sachets of suspected shabu were seized from his possession.

Arevalo said they received several text messages via the local police hotline exposing the suspect’s racket.

Decida was on the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) watchlist of illegal drug personalities.

But he did not surrender through Oplan Tokhang.

The suspect allegedly got his supply from Bacolod City.

Dumangas hosts a roll on-roll off port which has been under monitoring by authorities due to reports that it is a transhipment point for illegal drugs from Mindanao and other parts of Visayas.

At around 4 p.m. of the same day, a carwash employee was arrested in Barotac Nuevo town.

Adler Politico, 45, who hails from Bacolod City, yielded six sachets of suspected shabu and the P6,000 marked money.

Police Major Ramel Sarona, Barotac Nuevo police chief, said the suspect is a newly-identified drug personality and also got his supply from Bacolod City.

Politico’s main clients were tricycle drivers.

In the recent months, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) had only arrested the likes of Politico and Decida.

In fact, it’s accomplishments in terms of number of operations and amount of confiscated illegal drugs, were way behind that of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO)’s 177 anti-drugs operations.

From June 27 to Sept. 27, 2019, BCPO’s anti-narcotics campaign led to the confiscation of P25,882,467.60 worth of illegal drugs, based on estimates by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

While Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) conducted 209 operations, the highest in WV, the IPPO only mounted 38 operations and seized P1.368 million worth of drugs.

But the figures should not be misconstrued that IPPO operatives are going easy on illegal drug personalities.

“There are several factors why there were no big arrests recently. For one, wala nang big players who are operating in the province,” Police Colonel Roland Vilela, Iloilo police chief, said.

Vilela said big-time drug pushers seemed to have shied away from Iloilo province.

They also noted a decline in the demand and supply of illegal drugs in the area.

“But I assure you that we are doing continuous monitoring against drug personalities in the province,” he said.

Vilela said intelligence operatives are verifying reports that a drug dealer is allegedly bringing in around two kilos of suspected shabu in the province every month.

He declined to give any information about the supplier’s identity and origin.

“We’re serious with our fight against illegal drugs. We mean business,” Vilela assured.