MANILA — A drug cartel based in Medellin, Colombia has expanded its operation in the Philippines, President Rodrigo R. Duterte warned on Monday night.
“We are facing a serious problem. Pumasok na ang cartel Medellin, Colombia. Kaya nga marami na naman makikita cocaine (A drug cartel from Medellin, Colombia has entered. That’s why we can expect a lot of cocaine),” Duterte said during the first National Assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas in Pasay City.
“We are in danger because on the right side ang (is) Mexico pati ang (and) Medellin pati ang (and) Colombia pumapasok cocaine (cocaine is entering),” he added.
Duterte, however, admitted that it would be difficult for the Philippines to prevent the entry of illegal drugs because of its long shoreline and limited resources.
“At mahirap ang Pilipinas because tayo ang pinaka-mahabang shoreline. Kasi island for island ‘yan ganun (It’s difficult in the Philippines because we have one of the longest shorelines. Because it’s island to island),” Duterte said.
“I cannot afford na may isang patrol dito (I cannot afford that we have one patrol here), for island for island. Ganun kahirap (It’s that difficult). So I have to do something about it. I’m just warning,” he added.
Earlier, Duterte also revealed that Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and Asia’s Bamboo triad are also operating in the country.
He said illegal drugs were cooked and thrown at sea and eventually retrieved by drug dealers using global positioning system (GPS).
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino confirmed Duterte’s statement following the recovery of bricks of cocaine in the eastern seaboard of the country.
Data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that at least 164 kilos of cocaine worth PHP871.65 million have been recovered since February 10.
Aquino explained the bricks of cocaine ended up in the Philippines shores due to the possibility that the country is being used as transshipment points by drug cartels.
He added drug syndicates may also have been using the bricks of cocaine as a diversionary tactic.
Aquino said only about 3 percent of Filipino drug dependents are using cocaine while shabu, marijuana, and ecstasy remain the top three prohibited drug substances in the country. (With report from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA – northboundasia.com)