May 28, 2023

TINGLAYAN, Kalinga – Exhausted of the persistent marijuana cultivation problem in his town even after many years of looking for solutions, Mayor Sacrament Gumilab is batting for drastic measures to once and for all eradicate the illegal propagation of the prohibited plant.
“It is high time to consider applying chemicals to stop marijuana from growing in perennial plantations. In the usual agriculture industry, herbicides and other weed killers are allowed. Why not on marijuana?” he said.
Uprooting and burning operations way back to the time of Pres. Fidel Ramos when he was the Philippine Constabulary chief were carried out by law enforcement agencies. Until now, however, the same plantations are the subject of anti-drug eradication missions, Gumilab said.
“Efforts have been done to discourage locals in few barangays from tending marijuana. Some of the interventions proposed during barangay consultations to stop maintaining marijuana like communal irrigation systems, potable water systems, access roads, and schools were provided,” Gumilab said.
He admitted they failed to convince cultivators to engage in alternative livelihood activities, as they prefer the easy cash from marijuana.
Gumilab said more than a hundred locals involved in the marijuana trade have already been jailed, but they still do not abandon the practice.
He said if his proposal of using chemicals to eradicate marijuana is accepted, a law enforcement unit must be stationed within the plantations that will be cleared to discourage locals to continue tending marijuana and to ensure that they will no longer develop new plantation areas.
Department of the Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Mayer Max Adong shared the mayor’s view of making plantation areas as a pilot for development projects through convergence of concerned government agencies.
Through this approach, alternative livelihood activities would be introduced through agricultural production technologies suited in the area and would make Tinglayan as the vegetable garden of Kalinga, as it was known three decades ago. – Peter A. Balocnit