June 24, 2024

The Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council (CRPOC) approved the anti-marijuana campaign as a flagship program to eradicate marijuana cultivation and to prevent illegal drugs from reaching the region’s urban areas.

“I suggest that the anti-marijuana campaign should be included in the 2022 to 2025 flagship program of the council so that we can focus on and develop plans and strategies to suppress the cultivation in potential growing areas, as well as minimize the product availability here in the region,” said Araceli San Jose, regional director of Department of the Interior and Local Government and head secretariat of CRPOC during the CRPOC second quarter meeting.

CRPOC chair and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong also supported the proposal noting that the council needs to orchestrate a permanent solution to get rid of marijuana cultivation in the Cordillera and provide solutions and livelihood to communities that will be affected by the program.

He also lauded the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera for being relentless in its anti-illegal drug operations especially the uprooting of marijuana cultivation sites and in its drive to put a stop to the illegal drug trade.

Based on PDEA-Cordillera data, authorities have seized a total of P485.36 million worth of narcotics across the region including marijuana.

Eradication of illegal drugs is one of the flagship programs of the Duterte administration.

Tinglayan Municipal Mayor Sacrament Gumilab also thanked the CRPOC for its move.

“I am very happy, the RPOC recognizes the need to sit together and develop a comprehensive plan to identify the root causes and formulate solutions to address the problem,” he said.

Magalong who was CRPOC chair from 2019-2022 was awarded a plaque of recognition by officials and members of the CRPOC for his commitment and dedicated leadership which led to the attainment of the council’s goals and objectives and realization of an inclusive and sustainable peace in the region.

San Jose lauded Magalong for helping reduce rape cases and incidents by 15 percent per quarter, for his unwavering support for the continuation of peaceful negotiations between the Butbut and Betwagan tribes, and for preventing any election-related violence and abuses in order to achieve a safe and peaceful election.

She also cited Magalong’s feat in achieving 80 target of the vaccination rate of the eligible population in the region.

“His defining leadership as vice-chairperson of the Cordillera Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach in the region and to ensure the goals and objectives of CRPOC are exemplary recognized,” she said. – Press release