P16-M worth of drugs seized in 1-week busts

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Different police units in Western Visayas seized around 2.416 kilograms of shabu valued at P16.311 million during the latest Birada Semana, which ran from March 27 to April 2, 2023.

Birada Semana is a weeklong enhanced managing police operations (E-MPO) and focused police operation on anti-criminality, wanted persons, illegal drugs, and illegal gambling.

The recent confiscation is more than double compared to the previous Birada Semana accomplishments from March 13 to March 19, where PRO-6 units seized 1.069 kilos of shabu from 59 operations. The value of drugs seized during the time was estimated at P7.269 million.

Almost the same volume of drugs was seized during the Birada Semana in February.

Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, said that the increase in the volume of confiscated drugs could mean an increase in the supply of illegal drugs in the market.

Another factor in the increase is heightened operations against criminality, with a focus on illegal drugs.

With the advent of the Holy Week, many visitors and tourists are expected to flock to different destinations in the region.

“In anticipation of the coming in of a good number of visitors, especially from Metro Manila, some illegal drug personalities will exploit this by increasing the volume from their usual or regular supply,” he said.

It’s about business coming into play, Francisco added.

For the same period, police conducted 61 anti-drug operations that led to the arrest of 81 persons.

“Our previous arrests helped our operatives to know other illegal drug personalities who are into it,” Francisco said.

The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) conducted the most number of anti-illegal drug operations at 22 while Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) conducted 13 operations; Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) with 8; Iloilo PPO with 7; Capiz PPO with 6; Guimaras PPO with 4; and the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU)-6 with 1.

But while the RPDEU-6 only conducted one operation, it was considered one the biggest hauls in Iloilo City recently.

On March 27, an RPDEU-6-led operation resulted in the arrest of 68-year-old Estrelita Bueno from Metro Manila and her local cohort.

The elderly woman was carrying 1.2 kilos of shabu worth P8.160 million.

Francisco said they have widened their intelligence monitoring to run after illegal drug couriers in Western Visayas.