December 5, 2023

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Cordillera has destroyed P771 million worth of marijuana plants during the conduct of 200 eradication operations from January to Oct. 16 this year.

PDEA-CAR Director Julius Paderes on Oct. 24 said 112 operations were conducted in Benguet; 79 in Kalinga; six in Mountain Province; and three in Ifugao.

Most of the destroyed marijuana consisted of plants worth P688M; P2.3M worth of seedlings; P4.5M worth dried marijuana leaves; P70M worth marijuana stalks; P2.4M worth marijuana bricks; and P12,500 worth of seeds.

“Kalinga recorded the highest amount of destroyed marijuana valued at P624.5M, although most operations were conducted in Benguet,” Paderes said.

He said they make it a point to return to the same places now and then because there is always a chance that new plantations will be discovered close to the sites that were earlier discovered.

“The goal is to fully eradicate the cultivation of marijuana by always returning to the villages and sitios. The government’s war on drugs is a continuing effort, and we will consistently return to the mountains,” he said.

Assisting the PDEA-CAR in their operations are the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, and National Bureau of Investigation, among others.

As this developed, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) said it is studying the proposal of the Kalinga Provincial Peace and Order Council for the construction of roads and boosting the livelihood programs for residents in remote areas to encourage them to stop marijuana cultivation.

“While the government’s thrust is on rehabilitation programs, we are confident that the DDB will fund the proposal as they did for Kapangan over a decade ago,” Paderes said.

Kapangan, which used to be among the top producers of high-grade marijuana in the Cordillera, has been free of the cultivation of illegal drugs for several years now, with roads constructed up to the identified marijuana cultivation areas and the provision of livelihood for many locals. – PNA