Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jan 2005
Source: Businessworld (Philippines)
Copyright: 2005 BusinessWorld
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


DAVAO CITY -- Businessmen here have been asked to open their
facilities for inspection starting this week. The move, Mayor Rodrigo
Duterte yesterday said, was in line with the local government's drive
to flush out illegal activities. A task force created on Jan. 11, he
said, would be conducting random visits to business establishments
twice a week for this purpose.

"I am also instructing all barangay officials to submit to me an
inventory of business establishments in their areas especially those
that maintain warehouses and with machineries and equipment running
even during night time," Mr. Duterte said.

The mayor claimed no search warrant was needed to conduct such
inspections. "I have residual powers as a city mayor and I will use
all those powers to protect my city from criminals," he said
explaining that the visiting teams would also cover sanitary and
environmental concerns as specified in business permits issued at the
start of the year.

"Please open your gates, or I'll personally open them for you," Mr.
Duterte said during his morning television program. "Those who can't
comply with this requirement should close their facilities and leave
this city immediately," he added.

The mayor said it was possible some businesses are into storage of
chemicals, and that even those in restaurant operation are involved in
the production and distribution of illegal drugs. Since two years ago,
demand for warehouse space here has been high.

He clarified, however, that the Chinese-Filipino community was not the
target of the inspections noting he was looking instead at newcomer
investors. The local Chinese-Filipinos are among Mr. Duterte 's
consistent supporters and a major contributor to the local economy,
city officials underscored.

On Dec. 31, a raid conducted in Toril district that resulted in the
death of six suspects who resisted arrest, yielded a shabu laboratory
and illegal substances worth P160 million. Follow-up raids on two
other warehouses in the city last week linked with the Toril
laboratory also yielded chemicals used in the production of illegal
substances, the city police office said. Those killed in the Toril
raid were Chinese-looking and the people involved in the other
warehouses raided were also Chinese-Filipinos, reports noted.

Meanwhile, local media's count on alleged vigilante victims in the
first two weeks of the year has been raised to 25. Over the weekend,
however, police officials insisted it was inaccurate for media to
claim that these killings were all vigilante-related.

Both Mr. Duterte and the city's police said the killings were indeed
drug-related since syndicate members were killing each other. The
mayor explained that the recent executions were rooted on the failure
of some drug lords to deliver the committed merchandise due to the
recent successful raids conducted by the authorities.
- ---