STEPPED-UP anti-narcotics campaign by the Police Regional Office 5 across Bicol region last year led in the arrest of nearly 1,400 known drug offenders and the seizure of some P353 million worth of shabu and other dangerous drugs, PRO5 director, Brigadier General Anthony S. Alcañeses told the Journal Group recently.
“We are further intensifying our campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse in Bicol as part of our all-out anti-criminality campaign as well as our own internal cleansing program,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Maringal’ Class of 1988 said.
PRO5 records showed that in 2019, Bicol policemen confiscated 4,703 heat-sealed plastic sachets containing some 1.840 grams of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ with a local market value of nearly P12.6 million.
In coordination with other law enforcement units led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the PRO5 also accounted for over 53 kilograms of cocaine worth nearly P282 million, all found floating in different coastlines in the region.
The PRO5 operations last year also led in the arrest of 1,385 known drugs pushers and 42 users as a result of buy-bust operations, service of search warrants, police responses and other interdiction operation.
Forty-seven armed drug dealers were also killed in shootouts with undercover officer during buy-bust operations which turned awry when the suspects sensed they were dealing with the police and opted to engage the lawmen in firefights.
PRO5 operatives also confiscated 102 assorted firearms and nearly P7.364 million worth of ‘drug money’ during their anti-narcotics operations last year.
PRO5 spokesperson, Major Maria Luisa Calubaquib said that their campaign against illegal drugs also led in the declaration of 1,069 barangays in the region as ‘ drug cleared’ based on parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board.
A barangay is considered as ‘drug-cleared’ if there is non-availability of drug supply; there is absence of drug transit/transshipment activity; there is absence of clandestine drug laboratory, drug warehouse, marijuana cultivation site, drug den/dive or resort, drug pusher, drug user/dependent and there is active involvement of barangay officials in anti-drug activities by the police.
Calubaquib said there are ongoing efforts to address the problem in the remaining 1,717 ‘drug-affected’ barangays in the region.
Last week, a series of anti-narcotics operations in the region led in the killing of an armed drug trafficker following a shootout with undercover officers in Sorsogon and the arrest of five others, Alcañeses said.
The official said that suspect Rodolfo Sumalinog, a known ‘high-value drug target’ in the region engaged officers in a shootout in Barangay San Vicente in Bulan, Sorsogon and was killed in the process.
The suspect had just sold a packet of shabu to a poseur when he sensed he was dealing with a policeman and tried to shoot the cop but missed. Back-up operatives returned fire in defense of the undercover operative, the official said.
Two other suspects identified as Miguel Ajejandro, Greco Daclan and Caesar Castañeda were also arrested while conspiring to sell shabu to a poseur in Bgy. Mabolo in Naga City. A 17-year old boy who is believed to be an accomplice of the trio was also placed under arrest by the local police.
The 5th suspect identified as Francis Matandag was arrested during a sting in Bgy. San Pedro in San Pascual, Masbate.
Another suspect identified as Christopher Ingua, a 38-year old laborer from Bgy. San Antonio in Pili, Camarines Sur was also jailed after he sold some P500 worth of shabu to an undercover agent last Saturday.
The suspect turned out to be a previous Oplan: Tokhang surrenderee.