February 2, 2023

With an 85 percent conviction rate, the various anti-illegal drug units operating in the Cordillera have proven their integrity, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera. 

PDEA-Cordillera Director Gil Castro said the anti-illegal drug operations in 2022 of the different anti-illegal drug units of the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and the PDEA resulted in the seizure of P1.4 billion worth of various illegal drugs.

The 2022 accomplishment also included an 85 percent conviction rate, which he said is one of the highest accomplishments in the country. 

Dahil mataas ang ating conviction rate, masasabi natin na ang integrity ng anti-illegal drugs operation sa Cordillera ay mataas. Sana sa susunod pa nating hakbang mahigitan pa natin ang mga success indicators ng anti-illegal drugs operations ngayong taon,” Castro said.

He credited the lawyers and personnel of the Department of Justice who continuously give guidance to the law enforcers and anti-narcotics agents in the process of filing cases.

He also cited the convictions of members of the Oliveros drug syndicate, a family of major drug personalities who have been operating in Baguio City for years, and are now serving life imprisonment at the New Bilibid prison.

Castro said while the high conviction rate resulted in the putting behind bars of major players in the region, it also created a space for new players to enter the illegal drug market.

On the conviction of marijuana cultivators in the region, Castro said there were suspects arrested on site but most of the time, the anti-illegal drug personnel failed to catch cultivators on site.

In Tinglayan, Kalinga, marijuana cultivation involves the community that is why it is hard for the operatives to catch cultivators on site during operations because there are no witnesses coming forward. 

Castro said they are looking at different approaches in dealing with the problem on marijuana cultivation in the region such as the implementation of social development plans to provide alternative sources of livelihood to the affected communities. 

PDEA-CAR has 132 personnel operating in the six provinces and two cities of Cordillera, that is why the agency is in partnership with the PNP and NBI during anti-illegal drug operations.

In 2021, around P1.6 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized in the Cordillera. – Ofelia C. Empian