Philippine Daily Inquirer - - METRO - By Dex­ter Cabalza @dex­ca­balza­INQ

“To en­sure that the il­le­gal drug trade in the [New] Bilibid [Prison] will be put to an end once and for all,” the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) has set up an of­fice in­side the national pen­i­ten­tiary in Muntinlupa City.

In­au­gu­rated on Tues­day, the PDEA Li­ai­son and Co­or­di­nat­ing Of­fice, which will have a staff of 12 along with two K9 units, will con­duct reg­u­lar in­spec­tions to stop the en­try of il­le­gal drugs and con­tra­band.

It will also en­able PDEA, which Pres­i­dent Duterte re­cently tapped to re­place the Philip­pine National Po­lice as lead agency in the an­tidrug cam­paign, to main­tain “24-hour vis­i­bil­ity” in the NBP.

Both PDEA Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Aaron Aquino and Bu­reau of Cor­rec­tions (BuCor) of­fi­cer in charge Chief Supt. Val­frie Tabian ad­mit­ted that de­spite rig­or­ous mea­sures put in place in the NBP, the drug trade per­sists.

As a re­sult, Tabian said, BuCor’s “best per­son­nel [have] be­come con­fused am­a­teurs.”

In July last year, elite po­lice troop­ers from the Special Ac­tion Force were de­ployed to the NBP’s max­i­mum se­cu­rity com­pound to re­place BuCor per­son­nel due to their fail­ure to stop the drug trade.

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