CEBU CITY – For uprooting PHP8.8-million worth of marijuana and arresting three drug personalities, agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Visayas received a cash reward from their central office in Quezon City.
Levi Ortiz, PDEA-7 regional director, on Wednesday said the anti-drug agency in Region 7 received PHP528,000 in a ceremony in Quezon City last Monday for the successful conduct of a marijuana eradication operation in Sitio Capio-an, Barangay Sunog in Balamban, Cebu on November 14, 2019.
He said the operation led to the destruction of 22,000 fully-grown marijuana plants and the arrest of three personalities linked to the plantation of the illegal narcotics.
“It is ingrained in every PDEA operative to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we continue fulfilling the mandate entrusted to us, especially during this time of the pandemic, and the cash reward is a welcome morale booster for our teams and support units,” Ortiz said told the Philippine News Agency in a message.
The anti-drug agency in the region, he said, will continue to intensify its drive against the illegal drug trade, in consonance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to protect every Filipino family from the menace of drugs.
“It is also an affirmation that indeed the work we do greatly contributes to the safety and well-being of our people, especially the youth,” said Ortiz.
Leia Alviar Alcantara, PDEA-7 information officer, said PDEA-7 was just among the six operating units of the anti-drug agency that received the monetary rewards.
The operation in Balamban was a joint effort of the PDEA-7, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forced of the Philippines.
PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva, in a statement posted on their social media page, said they released PHP5.9 million for the rewards in recognition of the meritorious anti-drug operations of their regional operating units under the “Operation Lawmen”.
“Any government agency exercising law enforcement function, or support unit is entitled to a reward under their own ‘Operation: Lawmen’ program. Non-monetary awards through recognition and commendation shall also be given to deserving law enforcers,” Villanueva was quoted in the statement as saying.
The “Operation Lawmen” is an incentive program for members of the anti-illegal drug units or task forces, including the support units, after the conduct of laudable anti-drug operations.
The program was institutionalized through Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation Number 1, Series of 2016.
Its counterpart is the citizen-based information collection program, “Operation Private Eye”, designed to encourage the active participation of private citizens to report illegal drug activities in their communities.
During the same awarding ceremony, 22 informants, who remained anonymous for their security and protection, also received cash rewards.
Meanwhile, PDEA-7 agents, along with the PNP and Naval Forces Central, destroyed on Monday marijuana plants worth PHP12.8 million in two sites in Sitio Pulgason, Barangay Langusig in the northern city of Danao, Cebu province.
The authorities uprooted more or less 32,000 fully-grown marijuana plants from the two sites.
The cultivator identified as Baristo Camaongay who is considered as a high-value target was able to sense the arrival of the operatives and managed to evade arrest. John Rey Saavedra /PNA – northboundasia.com