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PDEA: Marijuana passes through Baguio but not grown there

PDEA said it would be impossible to grown marijuana in Baguio City without being detected. Philstar.com/File photo
BAGUIO CITY , Philippines — Baguio City is just a transhipment point of marijuana and not a producer, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency made clear Friday.
 
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino made the point after Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan urged the the agency to rectify its previous report indicating Baguio City as a source of illegal hemp. 
 
“Mayor Domogan must have been misinformed. There is nothing to retract. During PDEA’s periodic presentation of the National Drug Situation to stakeholders, we regularly identify Baguio City as an intermediate destination for marijuana en route to reaching its ultimate end-users,” Aquino said, adding that there may have been a miscommunication.
 
A report stating that Baguio City is a producer of marijuana prompted Mayor Domogan, together with the Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council, to demand PDEA to withdraw its allegation.
 
Marijuana, the second drug of choice among drug users, is a perennial plant that thrives in high altitudes and in mountainous areas of the country.
 
Majority of the marijuana plantation sites eradicated were found in the tri-boundaries of Ilocos Sur, La Union and Benguet, particularly in Bakun, Kapangan and Kibungan.
 
Cultivation sites were also discovered in Tinglayan, Kalinga; Tinog, Ifugao; and Sadanga, Mountain Province.
 
“Illegal hemp is usually grown in these areas but not in Baguio City. It is not possible considering it is highly-urbanized with a growing population and limited land area where detection of marijuana cultivation sites is easy,” Aquino said, adding that the city has never been listed as a producer of marijuana.
 
From July 2016 to August 2017, PDEA and the Philippine National Police conducted a total of 32 anti-drug operations resulting in the arrest of 56 suspected drug personalities and the seizure of 8,887.1078 grams of marijuana worth an estimated P1.9 million.
 
“Based on the consolidated data, it is safe to say that Baguio City is a trading point of illegal hemp where drug syndicates conduct their illegal activities,” the PDEA chief said.
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