LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -– Sixty marijuana cultivators in Benguet voluntarily surrendered to the Kibungan Municipal Police Station a day after President Rodrigo Duterte took oath putting a large dent into illegal drug trade in the province in decades.
This was confirmed Monday (July 4) by the Police Regional Office–Cordillera (PRO-CAR), as 25 other drug users and personalities also willingly presented themselves to various police stations in the region on the same day.
The mass surrender of the marijuana cultivators was seen as a big blow against illegal drugs as the supply chain will be affected.
Kibungan is one of the towns in Benguet where large plantations of marijuana are known to exist but drug enforces, including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), have not been able to arrest a single cultivator, until last week.
The terrain in Kibungan makes it unlikely for drug enforcers to capture a cultivator because as soon as they make their presence felt in the area, the marijuana growers flee and hide among the population in the small villages in the town.
The 60 were later allowed to return to their homes after vowing to stop their involvement in the illegal drug trade through a covenant they signed in the presence of with municipal and police officials.
They were given a second chance at living a normal life after they were subjected to drug tests.
The cultivators came from the villages of Badeo and Tacadang, both in Kibungan town of Benguet and known marijuana country.
But the official added that the police will still keep a close watch on the 60 and will be arrested if they return to their old ways.
“But those who remain stubborn will face the government’s iron fist,” Regional Public Information Office chief, Supt. Cherry M. Fajardo said today.
Meanwhile, on the same day, another 25 drug users and personalities also presented themselves to police authorities fearing the “iron fist” will fall upon them.
According to Fajardo, eight users, including the top four drug personalities in Bauko, Mt. Province, gave themselves up to the Bauko MPS.
They were assisted by their respective barangay officials and another four surrendered to the Bontoc MPS.
In the capital town of La Trinidad, seven voluntarily surrendered, followed by another seven in Mankayan town.
Two gave themselves up in Itogon municipality and one from Tuba town.
Aside from those who surrendered, four drug personalities were arrested on July 1 in the serving of warrants of arrest and during the buy bust operations conducted region-wide.
Benguet’s 9th in the drug watchlist, identified as Oliver Padiw Tay-ew, 26, a suspected marijuana cultivator from Tacadang, Kibungan was arrested in Tamog-o, Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet by tracker teams from the Kibungan MPS and PDEA-CAR.
Judge Danilo P. Camacho, presiding Judge of RTC Branch 62, La Trinidad, Benguet recommended no bail for his liberty.
In Ifugao province, the top in the province’s watchlist, Dennis Padilan Bulahao, 46, a security guard and suspected pusher in Lagawe, Ifugao’s capital town, was arrested in his residence in Poblacion West, Lagawe by the joint personnel of PAIDSOTG, PIB, Tinoc MPS, Hingyon MPS and IPPSC in coordination with the PDEA-CAR.
Seized from his possession were a heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu and marked money worth PHP500.
Two Maranao sunglass vendors were arrested in a series of buy-bust operations conducted.
Arrested were Ombao Tiboron Sultan, 57, a resident of 177 Happy Homes Ferdinand Barangay, Baguio City; and Alimodin Mangompiya Langco, 39, and a resident of No. 112 Happy Homes Ferdinand Barangay, Baguio City where they were arrested.
Seized from Sultan were marked money amounting to PHP500; three heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu; a disposable lighter; a homemade cal.38 revolver with six cartridges; a Colt caliber .45 pistol with markings “Gold Cup National Match”; two magazines for cal. 45 with 16 cartridges; and a Maranao ID.
While seized in the possession of Langco were two transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu weighing more or less 3.52 grams; buy-bust money worth PHP500; assorted drug paraphernalia; a black Sony cellphone; a Black and red Myphone Cellphone; and seven live ammunition for a cal. 38 handgun. PNA/northboundasia.com