PDEA-10 strengthens partnership with Bureau of Customs in Northern Mindanao
By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/01:37:05pm 07/19/2021
(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 2, 2021)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – After working together that led to the seizure and turnover of P20 million worth of toxic chemical allegedly used in the manufacture of illegal drugs last year, the Phil. Drug Enforcement Agency-10 (PDEA-10) has strengthened its partnership with the Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) anew.
During a seminar on drug identification and interdiction operations held at the BOC-10 district office Tuesday, June 29, PDEA-10 briefed the local Customs personnel on the regional drug situation in Northern Mindanao.
Among the topics discussed were the efforts of PDEA-10 in clearing drug-affected barangays in the region.
Based on PDEA-10’s latest data, 749 out of 2,022 barangays in Northern Mindanao were drug-affected, but 122 were already declared drug-cleared by the agency.
Part of the discussion were on importation of controlled precursors and essential chemicals, operational procedure on interdiction operations, risk profiling and assessment, salient provisions on Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and proper handling of seized contraband.
During the event, the proposed memorandum of agreement between BOC-10 and PDEA-10 also came up.
Once the MOA is signed, it would boost the government’s anti-drug campaign, especially on prevention of drug smuggling, transshipment of illegal drugs, workshops and trainings, and transparency in information sharing regarding illegal drug shipment including the eventual creation of the Drug Interdiction Task Force in the region.
In his speech, Emerson Rosales, PDEA-10 regional director, stressed the importance of cooperation between the two offices in curbing the drug problem in the country, especially in regulating importation of dangerous drugs, precursors and essential chemicals.
For his part, Roswald Joseph Pague, BOC-10 deputy collector for administration who represented district collector Elvira Cruz, said he hopes the cooperation would go further.
“I hope we could formalize the Regional Task Force so that we could strengthen our partnership. This is also a support to BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero’s instruction that we should have a tight watch on shipment that may contain illegal drugs,” Pague said.
It can be recalled that BOC-10 and PDEA-10 have worked together when the Customs seized 320 plastic drums containing hydrochloric acid in 2017 and turned these over to PDEA-10 in 2020.
The chemical, which weighed 88,000 kilograms and was imported from India, was reported to be a precursor material used making “shabu” or crystal meth, a dangerous drug.
BOC-10 said the acid had no necessary permit from the PDEA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Food and Drugs Administration, prompting authorities to confiscate and dispose of it.