“In the end, we will be like Mexico. We will be controlled by drug cartels. The Sinaloa has already entered the country and that is why drugs are being thrown in the Pacific. The same is happening in the West,” Duterte said.
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Duterte: Philippines drug situation has worsened
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY , Philippines  —   President Duterte admitted that the illegal drug trade in the country has actually worsened despite the government’s relentless effort against its proliferation.

“But if you tinker with drugs and if you continue to feed our children with drugs and trafficking... Things have worsened. My policemen are on the brink of surrendering,” Duterte said during the campaign rally of the ruling PDP-Laban in Cagayan de Oro City over the weekend.

“In the end, we will be like Mexico. We will be controlled by drug cartels. The Sinaloa has already entered the country and that is why drugs are being thrown in the Pacific. The same is happening in the West,” Duterte said. 

The syndicates in the Golden Triangle have also reportedly infiltrated the country.

“Actually there are other billions coming in. The Philippines is contiguous, island for island. There are seven thousand islands. Just choose where you want to land. It’s different from America which is just one stretch of border,” the President said.

Duterte cited the recent illegal drugs amounting to billions of pesos that were intercepted by joint operation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP), which he said could just be decoys and that more had already entered the country.

The PDEA recently intercepted at least P2.8 billion worth of illegal drugs in a house in Alabang, Muntinlupa City and another P1.8 billion worth of shabu at a port in Manila that were placed inside tea and biscuit packages. 

“Don’t believe that it’s one billion. The next day there will be another P1.3 billion. That’s just an excuse. That’s a bait,” he said.

Duterte stressed that it has been difficult to guard the shoreline of the country, through which the illegal drugs could be smuggled.

The President lamented that personnel from the government, police and military as well as those in the judiciary are also involved in the illegal drug trade.

Duterte promised during the campaign in the 2016 presidential polls that he would eliminate the drug problem in six months, but he later extended the deadline to 2022.

The President said he was not prepared for the enormity of the drug problem in the country, given the volume of illegal drugs that gets in as well as those involved in it.

Frustration

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said President Duterte’s statement that the country’s drug problem has worsened was prompted by frustration.

“I cannot read the mind of the President but personally, it’s an emotional frustration,” he told reporters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

While he has no information on Duterte’s basis, Albayalde surmised it could have been brought about by reports of large volumes of illegal drugs smuggled into the country in the past days.

Albayalde doubts that Duterte is not happy with the performance of the PNP and other law enforcement agencies, but rather on the magnitude of the drug problem in the country.

Despite the challenges, Albayalde said the government’s anti-drug campaign is effective, noting the improving peace and order situation.

Bureau of Customs-Manila International Container Port (BOC-MICP) district collector Erastus Sandino Austria yesterday said the consignee in the P1.8-billon suspected shabu found in tea packages might be invited to shed light on their investigation. 

Austria said that officers of Wealth Lotus Empire Inc., the alleged consignee of the plastic resin where 276 kilos of suspected shabu were reportedly concealed, might be called for questioning. 

He said that the Bureau’s Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) will handle the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said that seven bricks of suspected cocaine were found by fishermen in Catanduanes last Monday afternoon. 

PCG spokesman Captain Armand Balilo said the suspected cocaine blocks were found floating in the waters off Barangay Bugao, Bagamanoc, Catanduanes. The illegal drugs could be worth millions of pesos. 

He said that two fishermen on their way back to shore spotted the seven bricks floating on the water and immediately informed their barangay chairman, who turned the items over to the local police. 

The Coast Guard urged the fishermen that if they happen to see suspected illegal drugs floating, they should immediately turn them over to authorities. – With Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe

ILLEGAL DRUG TRADE RODRIGO DUTERTE
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