LEGAZPI CITY, Feb.2 (PNA)—-The top official of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) said nothing has changed in the illegal drug campaign except that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is the lead agency and the Philippine National Police as its support unit.
“With PDEA as the lead agency in the drug operation and the PNP as the supporting unit, we will at least get rid of the past controversies regarding the bloody operations in buy bust operations in some areas," said Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PRO5 director, who said he has met with Emerson Margate, PDEA-Bicol director, inside PRO5 headquarters at Camp General Simeon A.Ola.
Buenafe, in an interview, cited the first search warrant operation conducted by PDEA agents with PNP operatives from Sorsogon as support unit in the evening of January 31, at the house of village councilor Aron Ty Genorga in Barangay Monbon, Irosin town in Sorsogon.
PDEA and PNP were able to recover bulk of suspected shabu (methampetamine hydrochloride) that were placed inside 11 sealed big plastic sachets. The items weighed 60 grams with an estimated street value of PHP 360,000.
Buenafe said his meeting with Margaate tackled how the intelligence officers from PNP and PDEA will help one another in “building up intelligence gathering, monitoring and operations against the proliferation of illegal drugs in the villages.”
He said even the Armed Forces of the Philippines has promised to support PDEA’s efforts to combat the proliferation of illegal drugs in the region.
Buenafe said the operation in Irosin, Sorsogon was the result of information given to them by the community who pledged to help them clear their barangays of illegal drugs.
He thanked civilian organizations like the "MAYAD (Mamamayan ayaw sa droga)”-Sorsogon,"Kasurog Kontra Droga (KKD), Bicol Region Ayaw sa Droga” or BRAD and other organized civilian groups after they promised to continue their efforts to support the government to fight the drug menace in the region.
Buenafe also stressed that should there be suspects, who will be found by policemen openly selling drugs, the policemen can do the arrest.
“PNP will still continue its monitoring and intelligence gatherings, especially against those listed in the high and low target value, newly identified drug personalities and in the 'clearing' of the villages (of the drug problem),” he said.
In a police report, the last casualty of the PNP's anti-illegal drug operation under the Double Barrel campaign was village chief Arturo Bisenio of Barangay Sta. Teresita in Baao town in Camarines Sur before dawn on January 30.
Four others were arrested during the joint operation conducted by the Regional Intelligence Division in Bicol, PDEA, Police Investigation and Division Management Section and Baao Municipal Police Office.
According to police reports, Bisenio was severely wounded after he shot it out with the operatives.
He was the 89th and the last casualty of the PNP's anti drug operation in Bicol region since July 1, 2016.
Under Project Double Barrel, the Bicol PNP has arrested 937 drug suspects, recovered 112 sachet of dried marijuana, 2,914 small sachets of suspected shabu and a big sachet of shabu weighing 792.
They were able to knock on 1,213,546 houses while 86,576 drug personalities (5,954 pshers 80,622 users) have surrendered under Oplan Tokhang.
Buenafe said the biggest operation was the raid on a clandestine shabu laboratory in Barangay Palta Small in Virac town in Catanduanes last November. He said the PNP was able to recover five big plastic containers containing 359.75 kilograms of suspected shabu.
The following month, anti-narcotics operatives recovered 912.17 kilograms of high grade cocaine off the coast of Barangay Sogod in Tiwi, Albay. (PNA) FPV/GVR/JH/CBD