Western Visayas drugs supply down 70% – Binag

BY RUBY P. SILUBRICO

Monday, October 2, 2017

ILOILO City – If Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag were to be believed, the supply of illegal drugs in Western Visayas dropped by around 70 percent.

Speaking at the launching of the “Proud to be Ilonggo” campaign on Saturday, the region’s police director enumerated several factors for the decline. These were as follows:

* death of drug lords Richard Prevendido and Melvin Odicta Sr.

* no illegal drug laboratory / factory in Region 6

* non-stop campaign of the police to arrest high-value drug targets

Unidentified  gunmen shot Odicta to death in Malay, Aklan in August last year.

Prevendido, on the other hand, died in a shootout with policemen in Barangay Balabago, Jaro district just this Sept. 1.

Both drug lords were residents of Iloilo City – Odicta was from Barangay Tanza Esperanza, City Proper while Prevendido was from Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao district.

Binag urged Ilonggos, including those in the business sector, to continue supporting the Police Regional Office 6’s peace and order and antidrug campaigns.

Western Visayas remained “peaceful and stable,” Binag told those who attended the “Proud to be Ilonggo” campaign led by the Iloilo Economic and Development Foundation, Inc. (ILED).

Proof of this, he said, was Iloilo’s hosting of several national and international gatherings such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summits.

ILED welcomed Binag’s pronouncements.

“Let us continue telling everyone that Iloilo is still in business and progressive,” said ILED chief Narzalina Lim, former Tourism secretary.

The “Proud to be Ilonggo” campaign aims to counter President Rodrigo Duterte’s oft-repeated description of Iloilo as “most shabulized” and “bedrock of illegal drugs.”

“Iloilo is peaceful and conducive for doing business,” stressed Lim.

She lamented “recent disturbing events (that) have attempted to tarnish the good image of Iloilo when it has been chosen by various groups as one of the most liveable places in the Philippines, one of the best places to invest in, and as a model of good governance.”

President Duterte also repeatedly accused – without providing evidence or filing charges – this city’s Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of being a protector of illegal drugs.

Lim said Ilonggos from various sectors – business, professional, civil society, youth, academe, women, religious, and media – should craft their “own destiny and work together as self-reliant private citizens; to continue the upward trajectory that the city and province have been experiencing these past 10 years.”/PN