May 24, 2024

It takes a community to police its own when it comes to the massive marijuana cultivation in some areas in the Cordillera.
Mayor Gabino Ganggangan of Sadanga, Mountain Province said stakeholders in areas where marijuana plants thrive must put their acts together to rid their areas of cultivators.
Ganggangan, who earlier issued an executive order banning tourists from using a section of a national road within his municipality in going to Tinglayan, Kalinga, said the EO is meant to curb the illegal marijuana trade.
The municipality of Tinglayan particularly in Barangay Buscalan where tattoo artist Whang-od resides, has been tagged by the Police Regional Office-Cordillera and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as one of the major sources of marijuana. 
“So, my latest action is becoming controversial. Let it be, but for me I have a clear objective. I have a message to tell. I want to tell the people of those barangays planting marijuana that unless and until they will start policing and disciplining themselves to stop planting marijuana, we will not allow people going to their places (to pass by Sadanga),” he said.
The mayor’s latest EO has drawn criticisms, particularly on its constitutionality.
Ganggangan said that the growing tattoo tourism in Buscalan has since become a cover for marijuana cultivators and smugglers to continue their trade. 
“This incident worsened now, especially naging popular itong tatttoo ni Whang-od so I call it sometimes the tattoo tourism. I thought about this to regulate these tourists, even if I have to be harsh with them. I am not prohibiting everybody since I’m referring to tourists. You better not pass by our area,” he said. 
The mayor said the problem will only remain as a cat and mouse chase if residents will not do something about their own folks engaged in marijuana trade.
Pro-Cor Director, B/Gen. R’win Pagkalinawan, has urged marijuana cultivators to stop their activities since roads are already built for them to transport their legitimate farm produce to the market. – Ofelia C. Empian