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20,000 marijuana stalks worth P8.7 million uprooted

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - February 25, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Authorities uprooted and destroyed around 20,000 stalks of fully grown marijuana plants with estimated value of P8.7 million in two plantations in Asturias town, midwest Cebu early morning Wednesday.

The joint operation was carried out by the Provincial Intelligence Unit, Cebu Provincial Police Office, Provincial Mobile Force Company, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas.

Police Lt. Lino Galvan III, deputy chief of PIU, said the operation stemmed from a tip they received from a concerned citizen informing them of the presence of the marijuana plantations.

Galvan, however, said that the persons cultivating the gardens, who were identified as Jay-r Camaongay and Johnny ‘Yungko’ Escarpe, eluded arrest after being able to notice the presence of approaching operatives.

Authorities first uprooted marijuana plants on the slopes of an 800-square meter area in the remote village of Upper Kaluangan where 11,500 stalks valued at approximately P4.5 million were planted.

They then proceeded to the second site in Sitio Uling, also in Barangay Kaluangan, wherein 10,500 fully grown stalks worth P4.2 million were planted within a 650-square meter site.

Galvan said they subjected the areas to surveillance for almost a month after receiving the report from the concerned citizen.

Galvan said it was learned that Camaongay’s father, a certain Baresto, was also reported to have long cultivated marijuana plantations.

Under Section 16 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million shall be imposed upon any person, who shall plant, cultivate or culture marijuana, opium poppy or any other plant regardless of quantity, which is or may be classified as a dangerous drug or as a source from which any dangerous drug may be manufactured or derived. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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