ILOILO City – Confiscated illegal drugs and expired medicines valued at P8.8 million were destroyed through thermal incineration at the crematorium of a funeral parlor yesterday in Barangay Balabago, Jaro district.
The illegal drugs were methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu worth P7,180,228.33 and marijuana worth P659.944. The expired medicines were valued at P1,590,568.52.
Destroying seized illegal drugs through incineration was a protocol instituted by the Dangerous Drugs Board in Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002 and by Section 21 of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 6 director Alex Tablate.
The illegal drugs were confiscated between 2016 and 2018 and had been presented as evidence by PDEA in drug-related court cases.
“Tapos na ang mga kaso. Dapat nating i-destroy na ang mga ito para hindi na magamit o ma-recycle,” said Tablate.
He, however, stressed, “Wala naman tayong issue sa recycling of illegal drugs dito.”
Most of the illegal drugs confiscated in PDEA antidrug operations were shabu, said Tablate, and this explained why shabu made up the bulk of those incinerate.
The burned marijuana included dried leaves and seeds. Some of them were from uprooted fully-grown marijuana plants, said Tablate.
On the other hand, the expired medicines were surrendered by pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.
The destruction was attended by Police Regional Office 6’s (PRO-6) Police Colonel Marlon Tayaba, chief of the Directorial Staff; Police Colonel Harold Tuzon, deputy director for operations; representatives from the PRO-6 crime laboratory, Dangerous Drugs Board, Department of Justice, Iloilo Prosecutor’s Office, nongovernment organizations, local officials and media.
Tablate expressed concern that demand for illegal drugs, particularly party drugs, could rise this holiday season and next month when Iloilo City stages the Dinagyang Festival.
Party drugs, also called club drugs or rave drugs, are recreational drugs that have stimulating properties. Regular use can lead to the user craving more of the drug, resulting to addiction.
Of particular concern to the PDEA are the seaports where drug traffickers are known to slip their stocks.
“We will be utilizing 10 K-9 dogs aside from partnering with the police,” said Tablate.
“K-9” (a homophone of “canine”) are dogs trained to assist law enforcers detect contrabands such as illegal drugs and explosives.
“We need to double our efforts in monitoring the entry of illegal drugs. We expect a high demand for them this Christmas season when most people have money,” said Tablate./PN