PDEA: Raided plantations disprove marijuana grows naturally in Cordillera

Artemio Dumlao - Philstar.com
PDEA: Raided plantations disprove marijuana grows naturally in Cordillera
This photo shows anti-drug operatives at a marijuana plantation along the boundary of Mountain Province and Kalinga in August 2020.
via The STAR / Artemio Dumlao

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is seeking to end the debate on the abundant marijuana plantations in the highland region, saying these are grown on purpose. 

Marijuana is done like high-value agriculture, PDEA-Cordillera director Gil Castro said after authorities discovered yet another marijuana plantation along the boundary of Mountain Province and Kalinga last Thursday.

The plants found were well manicured and were spaced evenly, he said, disputing claims that the plants grow in the wild and without human intervention.

Castro said the plants found at the plantation along the borders of Sadanga, Mountatin Province and Tinglayan, Kalinga are estimated to be worth around P2.55 million.

RELATED: Sadanga mayor's order to bar Buscalan tourists from passing through questioned

Anti-drug operatives recently overran four plantation sites covering a total of 6,150 square meters, said Police Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director.

Castro said while eradication operations are intensifying, the PDEA and the Philippine National Police are codnucting an investigation "to find out who should be held criminally or administratively liable for intentional cultivation."

Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan has also confirmed marijuana plantations along his town's borders with Tinglayan while pointing out that people from Buscalan and Bugnay barangays have been encroaching into the town's land to plant marijuana.

In 2018, then Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac confirmed the proliferation of illegal marijuana plantations particularly in Tinglayan but cited socio-economic reasons behind such.

The illegal agricultural activity has long been there, Baac said then, even when Fidel Ramos — later defense minister and then president — was chief of the Philippine Constabulary.  

"Time pa (niya) sinusunog na yan," the former governor said. "The problem is, everytime they burn or uproot, kumakalat naman ang buto. Pag umulan, according to residents, tutubo ulit.”  

The government should instead provide good roads and irrigation systems in those villages so that people would instead grow legal crops, Baac said then.

Baac dispute that all local villagers within the Mount Chumanchil complex in Tinglayan are involved in growing marijuana.  "Basta na lang daw tumutubo," he had said.

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