August 16, 2018 – The drug scourge has become so dangerous and complicated as international and local syndicates are adopting innovative ways in sneaking illegal drugs into the country, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said on Wednesday.
Barbers, chair of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said this in a radio interview after hearing the testimonies of officials from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during the initial hearing of his committee on what PDEA alleged was a shipment of P6.8-billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, that slipped through the BOC.
Barbers noted how drug syndicates tried to mislead and confuse BOC and other law enforcement officials by using multiple routes, like Taiwan, and Hong Kong and different consignees for their shipments that led to the same address.
He cited the case of an abandoned shipment with P2.4 billion worth of shabu seized on August 7 at the MICP and another shipment in Cavite discovered on August 9 by PDEA which they claimed that circumstantial evidence pointed to shabu.
The shipment containing the four magnetic scrap lifters that were discovered in Cavite arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) on July 10, 2018 from Taiwan but other reports indicated it actually came from Vietnam.
“Pilit tayong ina-outsmart ng mga sindikato. Talagang pinag-aralan nila kung paano tayo lilituhin at makakalusot. (The syndicates are really trying to outsmart us. They really analyzed how to confuse us and get one over on us),” Barbers said.
Barbers said the only way to address the drug scourge was through close collaboration among the relevant parties.
The PDEA admitted to having received an earlier intelligence report about the possible entry of a shabu shipment. PDEA officials said the ones found in a Cavite warehouse resembled the intelligence report.
Barbers said he was pleased to hear from PDEA and BOC after the hearing that they would work closely in terms of sharing intelligence information to avert the entry of illegal drugs here.
“May naging kakulangan talaga sa sharing of intelligence information, but they vowed 100 percent sharing of intelligence after the hearing. Dapat bago umaksyon, meron muna silang case conference ng sa ganoon ay mas magiging maigting ang kanilang pagbabantay at paghuli sa mga shipment ng droga. (There was really lack of coordination in terms of sharing of intelligence information. They should first have a case conference to effectively map out a plan of action in detectign and seizing drug shipments),” Barbers also said. #