PDEA clarifies report on Baguio as marijuana producers

BAGUIO CITY October 25 – The Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-CAR) said that there is nothing to rectify on an alleged previous report that Baguio City is a producer of marijuana because the anti-drug agency never came out with a declaration stating that the country's undisputed Summer Capital is a producer of the illegal hemp.

PDEA-CAR Public Information Officer Atty. Joseph Frederick Calulut said that PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino already came out with a recent pronouncement that upon verification of the complaint raised by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan during the joint meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Regional Development Council (RDC) in Luna, Apayao last September 7, 2017, it was found out that there was no such report made by the agency identifying Baguio City as a marijuana producer, thus, there is nothing to rectify on the said report.

The PDEA-CAR official said that concerned personnel were tasked to review the minutes of the meeting of Luzon RDC chairpersons and there was no portion that directly pinpointed to Baguio City as a marijuana producer.

"It could be possible that there were marijuana couriers who were arrested in other areas in the country who were arrested by combined police operatives and intelligence agents, and when asked on the source of the confiscated contraband they could have answered that they took their supply from Baguio City, which could have resulted to the confusion," Calulut stressed.

He added that the agency will clarify the matter with Mayor Domogan, who chairs the RPOC and RDC, as soon as he will report back to office after his official trip overseas to put an end to the issue.

Earlier, Mayor Domogan called on PDEA-CAR officials to make the necessary representation with higher authorities to correct their report of identifying Baguio City as an alleged marijuana producer because it will create a negative impression of the city on tourists, which could significantly affect the influx of visitors to the city.

According to him, it could have been acceptable if the PDEA report identified Baguio City as a transhipment of marijuana from the hinterlands of the Cordillera to the lowlands and shabu from the lowlands to the different parts of the region, and there is no truth to the attribution that Baguio is a producer of marijuana.

Calulut claimed PDEA-CAR will exert extra effort to curb the drug problem within its area of jurisdiction now that President Rodrigo R. Duterte already ordered the transfer of the government's anti-drug campaign to the said agency, saying that the agency remains in direct coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the sustained aggressive campaign to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs.

He solicited the support of the public to provide PDEA the necessary information regarding illegal drug activities in their areas of jurisdiction to prevent the spread of illegal drugs.

By Dexter A. See

 
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