Issue of December 30, 2012
Mt. Province

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54 persons logged in PDEA drug personality watch list
by Harley Palangchao

Fifty-four individuals are in the watchlist of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-CAR.

Majority of those in the watchlist are in Baguio City, reported PDEA-CAR Acting Deputy Regional Director Ernesto Marzo during the recent Benguet Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting.

Marzo said evidences are being gathered to pin down the 16 individuals from Baguio, who are on the agency’s  watchlist.

Another 15 are also listed by the PDEA in Benguet with most of them located in towns where marijuana plants thrive. Marijuana plantations are still sighted in Bakun, Kibungan and Kapangan.

Some 11 drug personalities are also located in Kalinga, and seven are in Abra.

The PDEA also listed six personalities in Ifugao and another three in Mountain Province.

Last month, PDEA reported the supposed most notorious and long-existing drug group based in Baguio but operates in the Cordilleras and Ilocos Region is on the brink of being neutralized with the arrest of its alleged “kingpin.”

The agency reported it hopes to neutralize the networks of the Nider Drug Group after Arthur Nider Sr., was arrested on Nov. 13.

Nider, better known as “Kuya,” is said to be the group’s leader.

Benguet PPOC chair and Gov. Nestor Fongwan, who was once the chair of the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), once rallied the council to also focus on the socio-economic or anti-poverty aspect of the government’s war against illegal drugs particularly marijuana in the region.

The governor said the anti illegal drugs campaign is mostly focused on eradication but with lesser government intervention on the social aspect of the program.

Observers agreed with Fongwan’s observation. In Kapangan, marijuana plantations are still being maintained despite earlier declaration that the municipality is “marijuana-free.”

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