Baguio MJ tran­ship­ment point– PDEA

Manila Times - - REGIONS - THOM F. PICAÑA

BAGUIO CITY: The Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) clar­i­fied that this city is not a pro­ducer but a trans­ship­ment point of mar­i­juana.

PDEA Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Aaron Aquino pointed this out af­ter Mayor Mauri­cio Do­mo­gan urged the Agency to rec­tify its pre­vi­ous re­port in­di­cat­ing Baguio City as a source of il­le­gal hemp.

“Mayor Do­mo­gan must have been mis­in­formed. There is noth­ing to re­tract. Dur­ing PDEA’s pe­ri­odic pre­sen­ta­tion of the Na­tional Drug Sit­u­a­tion to stake­hold­ers, we reg­u­larly iden­tify Baguio City as an in­ter­me­di­ate des­ti­na­tion for mar­i­juana en route to reach­ing its ul­ti­mate end-users,” Aquino said, adding that there was ob­vi­ously a mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion some­where.

A re­port stat­ing that Baguio City is a pro­ducer of mar­i­juana prompted Do­mo­gan and the Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil and Re­gional Peace and Or­der Coun­cil to de­mand that PDEA to with­draw its al­le­ga­tion.

Mar­i­juana, the sec­ond choice among drug users, is a peren­nial plant that thrives in high al­ti­tude and moun­tain­ous ar­eas of the coun­try.

Ma­jor­ity of the mar­i­juana plan­ta­tion sites erad­i­cated were found in the tri-bound­aries of Ilo­cos Sur, La Union and Benguet, par­tic­u­larly in Bakun, Ka­pan­gan and Ki­bun­gan. Cul­ti­va­tion sites were also dis­cov­ered in Tinglayan, Kalinga; Tinog, Ifu­gao; and Sadanga, Moun­tain Prov­ince.

“Il­le­gal hemp is usu­ally grown in th­ese ar­eas but not in Baguio City. It is not pos­si­ble con­sid­er­ing it is high­lyur­ban­ized with a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and limited land area where de­tec­tion of mar­i­juana cul­ti­va­tion sites is easy,” Aquino said. He added that the city has never been a pro­ducer of mar­i­juana.

From July 2016 to Au­gust 2017, PDEA and the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) con­ducted a to­tal of 32 anti- drug op­er­a­tions re­sult­ing in the ar­rest of 56 sus­pects and the seizure of 8,887.1078 grams of mar­i­juana worth P1.9-mil­lion.

“Based on the con­sol­i­dated data, it is safe to say that Baguio City is a trad­ing point of il­le­gal hemp where drug syn­di­cates con­duct their il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties,” the PDEA chief said.

Mean­while, Benguet Gov. Cre­sen­sio Pa­calso, said he ap­proves the use of mar­i­juana as a medic­i­nal plant but should be reg­u­lated and in form of a tablet or liq­uid. In this case, he added, mar­i­juana should not be il­le­gally planted but could be an al­ter­na­tive medicine and a liveli­hood for Benguet farm­ers.

Aside from, Benguet some parts of Kalinga prov­ince, es­pe­cially Mount Chu­man­chil in Tinglayan town are also mar­i­juana producers.

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