CEBU CITY — Authorities burned nearly PHP14.3-million worth of marijuana (cannabis sativa) plants they uprooted in two remote villages of Danao City in northern Cebu on Tuesday.
Col. Roderick Mariano, chief of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), said six suspected farmers were arrested during the joint operations conducted by the elements of the Danao Police Station, Regional Mobile Force Battalion and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Visayas.
Danao City Mayor Ramon Durano III led the ceremonial burning of around 35,000 uprooted cannabis plants, 4,000 seedlings, and 38,000 cannabis stalks in the neighboring village of Lawaan where he congratulated the joint operatives for this biggest haul.
According to the police report made available to media on Wednesday, the massive operation was conducted after authorities located the huge marijuana plantations in the villages of Licos and Langosig.
The report said joint operatives found the cannabis plantation in Langosig village covering an area of almost a hectare of land where 25,000 marijuana plants with an estimated value of PHP10 million were uprooted.
The Langosig plantation was found an hour after the Licos raid.
Jay Basalo Acidillo and Jhosar Basalo Acidillo, suspected cannabis farmers, were arrested in the Langosig raid. They are both on the watch list of the police and PDEA-7.
Their cohorts identified as Genesis Jaime and Wendel Jaime were able to elude arrest but are now the subject of a police manhunt in Danao City.
The Langosig raid came after the police operatives and PDEA-7 agents discovered a 500-square meter cannabis plantation at around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Licos village.
In Licos, the authorities arrested suspected marijuana planters later identified as Benjie Salde Depositario, 34; Inocentes Juntilla Depositario, 59; Berting Salde Depositario, 27; and Melvin Salde Depositario, 30.
The joint raiding team in Licos was able to uproot around 10,000 marijuana plants with an estimated value of PHP4.1 million, and also discovered 4,000 seedlings with an estimated value of PHP160,000.
The suspects also yielded a .45-caliber pistol with five rounds of live ammunition.
The police suspected that the four men arrested in Licos were not only planters but also marijuana distributors.
Under Republic Act 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, cultivation, selling, and use of cannabis and cannabis-based narcotics are illegal in the Philippines.
Even before the passage of the 2002 anti-drugs law, cannabis has been illegal in the country since 1972 after the passage of RA 6425 or Dangerous Drugs Act. John Rey Saavedra / PNA – northboundasia.com