Unshabulized iloilo city

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

ALMOST three years since President Rodrigo Duterte labeled Iloilo City as the “most shabulized” in the country, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said there are no more centralized drug syndicate operating in the city, just “transient” drug peddlers.

“You are from this place and you can compare yung status ng Iloilo compared to 2016, ang laki ng difference,” said PDEA regional director Alex Tablate on Tuesday after the meeting of the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC).

According to Tablate, the recent apprehensions of transient pushers from outside Iloilo City is an indicator that the city is no longer controlled by a centralized drug syndicate compared to previous years.

Shabulized came from the word shabu or crystal meth, the dominant form of narcotics that circulates in the country.

“Ang nagiging outcome madami tayong nahuhuli na mga transient ibig sabihin they are not from this place so pumupunta lang dito so ibig sabihin unlike before wala nang kumukontrol na grupo,” he said.

Senior Superintendent Martin Defensor Jr., Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director, confirmed the information, citing the 50 percent decrease in drug supplies based on their recent confiscations.

“So kung makita mo yung indication bumaba talaga yung pumapasok na drugs dito sa city and most of the apprehended personality came from outside the city so diri sa city. Nag-decrease talaga yung tao na nag-engage sa illegal drugs and na-analyze namon nga effective yung move against illegal drugs,” Defensor said.

To recall, a couple from Cebu yielded suspected shabu worth P750,000 on January 8, 2019. They were arrested in a police anti-drug operation in City Proper, Iloilo City.

In their assessment, PDEA attributed the proliferation of drugs to the accessible location of the city especially its ports.

“The city is surrounded by accessible ports, shorelines, and terminals with minimal security protocols, hence access to these small illegal drug users and small-time peddlers are still proliferating,” PDEA said.

As a consuming region, Tablate said there are no clandestine laboratories, marijuana plantations and, diversion of chemicals in Western Visayas.

“So far sa history wala pa tayong na-dismantle na mga clandestine laboratories, based sa mga reports na validated. Walang marijuana plantation, walang mga diversion sang chemicals so basically ang category natin is a consuming region,” he said.

Still, PDEA and ICPO assured that they will be working together, especially in targeting at least 50 percent of the 69 barangays that are considered “slightly affected” by illegal drugs.

They aim to clear these barangays in the first and second quarters of 2019.

Based on their data, the city police apprehended 282 suspects in 197 operations in 2018 compared to the 306 arrested suspects in 199 anti-drug operations in 2019.

Moreover, 14.5343 grams of marijuana and 328.5561 grams of shabu were confiscated in 2018, lower compared to 254.9287 grams of marijuana and 668.9716 grams of shabu confiscated in 2017.