by Miriam Garcia Desacada
PALO, Leyte – The regional head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) yesterday identified 15 areas in Eastern Visayas as hot spots for illegal drug trafficking.
Lawyer Gil Pabilona identified the ro-ro (roll on, roll off) port of Allen in Northern Samar as the main transshipment point of illegal drugs like shabu.
Pabilona also tagged the ports of Liloan, Sogod and Maasin in Southern Leyte; Naval in Biliran; Tacloban, Ormoc, Hilongos, Palompon, Calubian and Isabel in Leyte; Catbalogan and Calbayog City in Eastern Samar; and Allen and San Isidro in Northern Samar.
Pabilona said drug traffickers mainly use ro-ro ports due to the lack of strict inspection procedures there.
To address the problem, the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Ports Authority have been asked to inspected cargoes on board ro-ro vessels.
Pabilona said PDEA would ask local government units (LGUs) to provide K-9 dogs to help Customs and PPA personnel in checking shipments for illegal drugs.
“Of course, the drug menace in the country is everybody’s concern. Without the support of the local officials in this campaign we really cannot move on,” he said.
Pabilona lamented that some LGUs in Eastern Visayas are not actively taking part in the anti-illegal drug campaign.
The PDEA, as the lead agency in the campaign, has also started coordinating with barangay officials in the region to reactivate their respective Barangay Anti-Illegal Drug Councils.
The PDEA will also tap Bantay Dagat, which campaigns against illegal fishing, to secure shorelines against the entry of illegal drugs.