By Jennifer P. Rendon
In a span of nine months, different police units of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 seized more than P222 million worth of shabu all over the region.
From a region struggling to arrest suspects with just a few grams of shabu, Western Visayas nabbed drug peddlers carrying hundreds of grams of suspected shabu.
And for Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, it was a bittersweet accomplishment on their part.
“It’s a double-edged sword. We have seized shabu with higher volume and we have made more arrests but it also signified na malaki din ang pumapasok,” he said.
The region scored one of its biggest hauls in recent months on Sept. 30 following the arrest of two persons with 1.6 kilos of shabu valued at P10.88 million.
But Villaflor said they can only do so much.
“Ang PRO-6 ay nakakahuli lang pag dumating na sa lupa,” he said.
That’s why, during a meeting of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC), which he chaired, he asked other agencies “that we should help each other.
He was referring to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the local government units (LGUs).
“Katulad niyan, hindi naman namin mandato ang mag bantay ng pier, mangharang o mag-inspection sa mga barko, inspection sa airport. I think it’s high time for other government agencies to equally participate in this undertaking,” he said.
Villaflor said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is flaunting that Western Visayas is a fast-improving region in terms of infrastructure and development.
The DOT is also boasting about the increase in the number of tourists and the income generated from them
“Pero ang problema natin, the drug affectation is also increasing. Dapat hindi ganun,” he said.
As to why drugs have thrived in the region, “Parang commodity like asukal at bigas na kung may mga bumibili, may magbebenta talaga. Pero hindi kami nagpapabaya,” he said.
Villaflor also cited major events and activities as reasons why a slightly bigger volume of illegal drugs found their way in the region.