By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) cleared the misconception that Baguio City is a producer of marijuana clarifying that the country’s summer capital is merely a transshipment point of the illegal hemp.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino made the clarification after Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan called out the agency to rectify its previous report stating that the city is a source of illegal hemp production.
“Mayor Domogan must have been misinformed. There is nothing to retract. During PDEA’s periodic presentation of the national drug stuation 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 officials and leaders of the various provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to ask PDEA to withdraw its allegation during the recent quarterly meeting of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Apayao.
Marijuana, the second drug of 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 highly urbanized with growing population and limited land area where detection of marijuana cultivation sites is easy,” Aquino said, adding 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 suspected drug personalities and the seizure of 8,887.1078 grams of marijuana worth of 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.
Tags: Baguio, Baguio City merely trading point of illegal hemp — PDEA, Cordillera region, Ifugao, Manila Bulletin, marijuana plantation, Mountain Province, mountainous areas, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
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