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PIA Press Release

Drug incidence in Central Visayas declines

Cebu City (9 October) -- Drug incidence in the region is on a downward trend due to the aggressive measures employed by both the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-7) and the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) against drug peddlers.

PDEA-7 information officer III David Mark Maramba bared during the recent 'Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis' (TSIP) Forum that apart from strengthening intelligence network to ensure the apprehension of drug peddlers in coordination wit the police, they are also going high on their information and education drive against the use of illegal drugs.

Maramba also said they are working closely with the police on how to build-up drug related cases for their speedy resolution.

From January until at present, the PDEA-7 has conducted 425 operations and arrested 596 personalities.

PRO-7 Chief Gn. Lani-O Nerez claimed that the issue of drugs is always associated in all crimes may it be a crime against person such as rape or a crime against property usually theft.

Nerez agreed that the drug incidence in the region has gone down as they are working double time to reduce the supply of drugs in order to decrease the demand for illegal drugs.

No figures however were given by both the PDEA-7 and the PRO-7 that attributed to the decrease in drug incidence.

Out of the four provinces in Central Visayas, Cebu shares the largest bulk of drug-related cases, this is learned.

In Siquijor which has the lowest crime volume in the region, police confiscated 191 marijuana plants during a police operation but no suspects have been arrested.

Siquijor Provincial Police Chief S/Supt. Efren Ysulat said it is "very difficult to identify the cultivators of the marijuana plants" but that they are strengthening their network down to the barangays to pin down those involved on illegal drugs.

Ysulat said they have identified 15 drug-affected barangays out of the 130 barangays in the province but two of these 15 barangays have already been cleared.

In Negros Oriental which ahs the lowest crime rate, 171 pushers for this year alone were apprehended by the police.

Negros Oriental Provincial Police Chief S/Supt. Augusto Marquez said the problem of illegal drugs is not that much of an issue compared to the problem of insurgency. Although the insurgency problem is already "manageable" and that they are vigorously working with the military to neutralize this armed group.

On reports that the NPA is into marijuana cultivation to sustain their illegal operation, Marquez said he has not received a report on marijuana plantation in his area but that he has heard unconfirmed reports in Negros Occidental about a similar case.

Marquez said with the election season heating up, cases of extortion by the NPA to politicians who want to campaign in affected areas will surely rise as he appealed to those who are interested to campaign in rebel-infested areas not to succumb to the 'no permit, no campaign' policy of the NPA.

"Please immediately report to the police if you have any knowledge on any extortion attempts by this illegal group," Marquez stressed. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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