CEBU CITY – Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, Police Regional Office 7 director, yesterday belied a recent disclosure that Cebu is one of the top provinces in the Philippines where illegal drugs business thrives.
Constantino said Cebu has been identified as a transit point for drugs and not necessarily a haven for the trade.
He made the clarification after a statement of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 officer-in-charge Esperidion Javier that Cebu is number one in the illegal drugs trade in Central Visayas, followed by Bohol and Negros Oriental.
But Constantino said this was not the disclosure during the recent meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Bohol, where Javier was also present.
He said drugs in Cebu are sourced from Luzon and Mindanao. “Cebu is a transshipment point and then from here to other places,” Constantino said.
He said Javier may have his reasons for making the statement, considering that the drugs problem is still a major concern.
Constantino said efforts are strengthened at the barangay level, especially those located in coastal areas, to curb the transport of drugs through the sea.
He said there are reports that drug couriers utilize fishermen and their boats to ship supplies to and from Cebu, so they can avoid ports and, in effect, avoid authorities.
He said residents in the barangays have also been tapped to help keep an eye on suspicious activities.
Constantino said the PDEA remains as the lead agency in the campaign against illegal drugs, particularly for high-value targets, with the PNP’s efforts geared toward street-level drug pushing.
He said the PNP is also on standby should PDEA need support for its operations.
But Constantino said the PNP in the region itself lacks manpower, with a ratio of only one policeman for every 900 civilians.
Constantino said both the PDEA and the PNP are undermanned, but the PNP will detail their personnel when the PDEA needs assistance, resulting in joint PNP and PDEA anti-drug operations.*PNA
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