PDEA says along with social media: Banks used in drug trade
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - September 23, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Drug dealers are devising ways to minimize the risks of their transactions. 

Yogi Filemon Ruiz, director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-7 said some drug peddlers are now using bank accounts to receive money from their clients instead of the traditional "kaliwaan" scheme that involves meetings where money changes hands personally.

This traditional exchange has become more and more risky following the government's crackdown on drug lords, dealers and users.

Police buy-bust operations rely on the kaliwaan system where marked money received given to drug peddler by poseur-buyers is later used as evidence.

"Before it was 50-percent down payment and kaliwaan. Now our agents have tried transacting with numerous drug personalities and they want the cash to be deposited in banks," he said during yesterday's Provincial Peace and Order Council third quarter meeting at the Capitol.

Ruiz said drug dealers now also taking advantage of technology and social media to transact business.

"After depositing the amount, they will require the buyer to take a picture of the deposit slip and send it to through Viber," he said. Viber is a mobile application that allows the user to make free phone calls and send free messages and photos to other Viber users.

Ruiz admitted that it is hard for the authorities to arrest drug peddlers with their new scheme, but he said they are coming up with operational plans on how to apprehend them.

He said they are now cooperating with the banks to help trace and arrest drug peddlers using bank accounts.

"We still have the capacity to monitor them. I believe, mas dali ma-trace karon because of their recorded information at the banks," he said.

Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Jose Macanas said drug dealers today are very creative.

"They have various modes of transactions. Very resourceful when it comes dealing, selling of drugs. Kahit nakakulong they can always transact their contacts outside particularly their supply, distribution. They have all the connections," he said.

Price

Ruiz said the price of shabu in the market has increased due to the shortage of supply. 

He said the regular shabu price ranging from P1,300 to P1,500 per gram has significantly increased to P2,200 to P2,500 per gram.

"Nakita nato grabe ang pagtaas sa presyo sa drugs tungod sa atong hiniusang kampanya batok droga," he said.

He said 80 percent of the supply of drugs in the region is coming from the New Bilibid Prisons and the rest from  Mindanao, Batangas and from other "new players". 

He said it is possible new players might take advantage of the maximum security being observed at the NBP and set up drug laboratories in the region and recruit drug dealers.

Cebu is considered the center of the drug trade in the region.

Affected

Out of the 1,066 barangays in the whole of Cebu Province excluding the highly-urbanized cities, 963 or 90.34 percent are affected by illegal drugs, according to Cebu Provincial Police Office spokesman Superintendent Brindo Nacario in his report yesterday before PPOC about the crime and drug situation in the province.

Of the 963 affected barangays, 725 are "slighted" affected, 234 are "moderately" affected and four are "seriously" affected. The remaining 103 barangays are "unaffected" he said.

Being drug affected is defined as having the presence of drugs in the barangay.

Among the seriously affected barangays is Basiao in Badian town due to massive plantations of marijuana. In September 2015, authorities uprooted P5.3 million worth of fully-grown marijuana plants and arrested one person in an operation in the said barangay. The 26,958 fully-grown marijuana plants and 1,200 seedlings were scattered in a 1.3-hectare plantation. (FREEMAN)

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