* Drugs scarce, expensive
A dismissed policeman is the prime suspect behind the fabrication of a drug matrix which named prominent public officials as well as some wealthy individuals in the drug operation in the province.
A highly placed source told The ChronicleÂ the identity of the suspect was already known as continued surveillance is being conducted to finally track him down since he is still active in the drug trade operations.
Police said his purpose of spreading the drug matrix in the social media was to mislead the authorities which he failed as some names in the matrix were found to be persons very unlikelyÂ to be involved in the drug trade.
The suspect who is from Antequera town is now based in Mindanao. He was charged on drug involvement in 2014, a year after of which he was dismissed from the service.
This was one of the classified information which leaked toÂ The ChronicleÂ as police is expected to arrest the suspect in due time.
In that drug matrix done by the dismissed cop, the names of a top provincial official as well as two high ranking police officers were mentioned, aside from the nine municipal officials, including three town mayors.
The matrix proved to be fake and fabricated as some of the names were never monitored to be involved in the drug trade.
“Their names were listed in the matrix to mislead the ongoing investigation of top drug lords and pushers operating here,” according to former Bohol Prov’l Director Dennis Agustin who is now based at the regional PNP headquarters in Cebu City.Â He said the tracking down of the drug suspect behind the drug matrix continues as he expects the team to arrest the suspect within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, due to the relentless drive against drug trafficking, the supply of shabu in the entire province has largely dwindled and its price escalated to its highest level.
“The role of the law of supply and demand” is dictating the current high prices of shabu in the province.
PDEA Regional Director Yogi Filemon L. Ruiz during last Monday’s meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Coiuncil in Cebu City gave an update of the consolidated drug situationer in Central Visayas.
He reported that the prices of illegal drugs, especially shabu, have gone higher, which is good news, indicating scarcity in the market.
In Bohol, the price of shabu in the market has increased from P300 to P500 per sachet, from P2,500 to P3,400 per gram, and from P12,000 to P16,000 per 5g or â€œbulto.â€
The Police Regional Office (PRO-7), concurrent with its mission and functions through its Provincial, City Police Offices and Regional Support Units (RSUs) will support PDEA pursuant to RA No. 9165,which implements the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan â€œProject Double Barrelâ€
The project envisionsÂ to clear all drug-affected barangays across Central Visayas. The no let-up operations against illegal drugs personalities will eventually dismantle drug syndicates here.
Three days after the Davao bombing blast which killed 14 persons, the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-7)Â convened on a special meeting Monday at Camp Sergio Osmena in Cebu City.
PNP Regional Director Gen. Noli Talino convened the meeting.Â Â Gov. Edgar M. Chatto temporarily presided over the special meeting as requested since MalacaÃ±ang has yet to appoint the RPOC chairman.
â€œThe RPOC is now appealing to the public to be cautious in sharing and disseminating information through social media and to refrain from posting on social networking sites reports from questionable sources and supposed to be news articles which are still unverified,â€ Gen. Talino strongly pointed out.
The strong appeal from the Regional PNP Chief came as a result of several reported bomb scares and threats following the Davao bombing.
â€œThis special meeting is also to remind all law enforcement agencies that the relentless war against illegal drugs is still on,â€ he clarified
P/Supt. Henry Binas, Regional Investigation and Detection Management Chief quoted Dangerous Drugs Board (DDBâ€™s) report thatÂ are 1.8 million drug users in the country wherein 38.36% are unemployed.
In 2015, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported that 26.91% or 11,319 out of the countryâ€™s 42,065 barangays were â€œdrug affectedâ€ (mostly in urban areas).
A barangay is said to be drug-affected when there is a determined existence of drug user, pusher, manufacturer, marijuana cultivator or other drug personalities regardless of number in the area.
On record, the National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest with 92.96% of the region’s barangays, followed by CALABARZON at 33.78%.
Methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu tops the list of most abused illegal drugs, followed by marijuana and costly party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.
Binas said that the data is indicative of the worsening drug problem which has victimized mostly the underprivileged and impoverished sector of the society
He admitted that in the quest to go after high-level drug traffickers, the government seems to have overlooked the worsening drug problem at the grassroots level.
The three transnational drug organizations operating here are the Filipino-Chinese, the Africans, and the Mexican-Sinaloa Drug Cartel.
These drug syndicates are using the nautical highway as their operation routes with minors as their peddlers.
Using public and private vehicles and the RORO system, drug supplies are distributed throughout the region.
In Bohol, out of the provinceâ€™s 1,109 barangays, only 27 are unaffected by the illegal drugs trade.
Citing recent statistics, it was revealed there are 3.3 million drug-affected Filipinos. And to the present, only 600,000 drug users and pushers have surrendered to authorities
The PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan â€“ â€œProject: Double Barrelâ€ will be conducted in a two-pronged approach, namely: “Project Tokhang” and “Project HVT/LVT”, according toÂ PS/Supt. Marciano Batiancela, Jr., Regional Operations and Plans Division Chief.
The lower barrel approachÂ will be â€œProject Tokhang”Â in drug-affected barangays throughout Central Visayas in coordination with the Local Government Units (LGUs), particularly the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), stakeholders, and other law enforcement agencies.
The upper barrel approachÂ will beÂ â€œProject HVT/LVTâ€ to be conducted byÂ focus teams from PRO7 Headquarters, PPOs, CPOs down to police stations.
The focus teams shall be composed of investigators, intelligence operatives and tactical personnel generated from Regional Support Units and Public Safety Forces.
The double barrel concept is based on a double barrel gun, which fires two shots in just one squeeze of the trigger, the operation of which will simultaneously attack big-time drug lords and street-level pushers.
The PNP and AFP are now having joint security operations by conducting checkpoints in strategic places and increasing patrol visibility.
Gen. TaliÃ±o advised that checkpoints must be in well-lighted, strategic places, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel and must be officer-led.
He said that upon approach, a driver should slow down, dim his headlights, turn on cabin lights but is never required to step out of his vehicle.
He also advised everyone to be cautious and lock all doors of their vehicles because, â€œonly visual search is allowed.â€
Gen. TaliÃ±o stressed that drivers and passengers should â€œnot submit to physical or bodily search nor are obliged to open compartments, trunks or bags, except in cases when there were prior reports of violations.â€
â€œOnly ordinary or routine questions may be asked but you should be courteous and firm with your answers, assert your rights, and have presence of mind and please, do not panic.â€
He advised car owners to always bring their driver’s license and car registration papers.
He cautioned that â€œin cases of blatant violations by PNP or AFP personnel, the public should call speed dial emergency numbers,
â€œCOLORUMâ€ SEA PORTS
A concern was raised regarding the existence of privately-owned sea ports in the region which could be used as ingress and egress points of illegal drugs
According to the Coast Guard, private ports should be registered with the Phil. Ports Authority (PPA), the concerned port where the port is located, or with the LGU concerned; â€œotherwise, they might be deemed as colorum or illegal.â€
Gov. Chatto informed the RPOC that in Bohol, he issued a memo through text blast to ensure the monitoring of suspicious or illegal activities especially in coastal areas
CASES OUTNUMBERED PROSECUTORS
It is interesting to note that Region 7 has 161 prosecutors only as pitted against hundreds of thousands of pending cases.
The Supreme Court has earlier directed all courts to hear drug cases as well, in addition to their usual case loads.