by Harley F. Palangchao
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has been asked to step up its campaign against the 36 drug personalities operating in Baguio.
The request was made after PDEA reported during the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) meeting that these drug personalities operate in at least 20 drug-infested barangays or sites in the city.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Councilor Roberto Ortega expressed concern on reports that drug personalities operate locally although they were relieved there are no syndicates involved in the illegal drug trade in the city.
PDEA Chief of Preventive Education and Community Involvement Section Emily Fama reported shabu remains the preferred choice among users in Baguio with marijuana coming in second.
Shabu now sells from P6,500 to P7,000 per gram while marijuana is sold at P1,700 or more per kilo or per brick while a kilo of marijuana hashish is sold at P33,000.
Fama also reported during the CPOC meeting individuals who frequent gambling lairs and night establishments also use illegal drugs.
Even some college students and workers of business process outsourcing firms were reported to be using illegal drugs, which was proven in some arrests made by PDEA and other law enforcement agencies.
Fama reported that PDEA in coordination with the other law enforcement agencies made significant accomplishments in Baguio in 2013 with more than P11 million worth of illegal drugs confiscated in a series of operations last year.
This year, PDEA also neutralized a foreigner who was nabbed with two hashish bars and other paraphernalia during serving of three search warrants at Upper Q.M. in Baguio in January.
In 2013, a jail officer reported that majority of the 80 female inmates at the Baguio City Jail that year are facing charges for alleged violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Poverty is one of the main reasons why a number of females were arrested for their involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Some female inmates were even arrested for trying to smuggle illegal drugs when they were supposed to visit a prisoner.