Pubdate: Fri, 30 Dec 2005
Source: People's Journal (Philippines)
Copyright: 2005 People's Journal
Author: Alfred Dalizon
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


THE police started a massive marijuana eradication drive targeting
more than 100 cannabis plantations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

"We are embarking on a massive anti-marijuana drive with the foremost
idea of educating people on planting alternative crops that can
augment their livelihood," said Director Marcelo S. Ele, Jr.,
commander of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Special
Operations Task Force.

Ele, in a report to PNP chief Director General Arturo C.  Lomibao,
cited the possibility of planting Yakon, a medicinal rootcrop as an
alternative to marijuana.

Records from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said from nine
marijuana cultivation sites identified in 1972, there are now 107
reported sites where the plant grows naturally.

PDEA chair Anselmo S. Avenido Jr., said government efforts to
eradicate marijuana plantations in 2002 resulted in the uprooting and
burning of 5.11 million plants and seedlings.

In 2003, 5.29 million plants and seedlings were uprooted while 2.38
million marijuana plants and seedlings were destroyed in 2004. This
year, marijuana eradication operations resulted in the confiscation of
4.81 million plants and 8.55 million seedlings with a total value of
P1.74 billion, Avenido said.

Ele, in a memorandum to different police regional directors and chiefs
of the Regional AIDSOTF and National Operating Units, said eradication
operations will be intensified.

Quoting reports from the Dangerous Drugs Board, he said marijuana
sites have been identified in Regions 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, Cordillera
and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Cordillera remains the top producer. Marijuana is the second top
favorite among drug users because it is cheaper.. A kilo of marijuana
can be bought at P1,500 while shabu fetches as much as P5,000 a gram.

Ele directed PNP regional directors to launch aggressive intelligence
operations to identify and neutralize armed groups and syndicates
involved in marijuana cultivation in their jurisdictions.

"We will also coordinate with local government units and regional
units of the Department of Agriculture for the provision of
alternative livelihood to the households involved or prone to engage
in marijuana cultivation," Ele said.

He urged the regional directors of Police Regional Offices 1, 2, 3,
4-A, 4-B, 5, 8, 9 and the National Capital Region police office to
intensify their search for marijuana plantations.

A DDB report said marijuana plantation sites have been found in the
municipalities of Alcoy, Balamban, Badian, Bantayan, Barili, Tabugon,
Danao, Aloguinsan, San Remigio, Naga and Consolacion in Cebu; San
Miguel, Pilar and Carmen in Bohol; San Fernando, Libona, Quezon;
Maramag, Kalilangan, Kitaotao, Manolo Fortich; Impasug-ong, Talakag,
Kibawe, Lantapan, Malaybalay; and Malitmog in Bukidnon; Kiblawan,
Davao del Sur; New Bataan, Monkayo and Pantukan in Compostela Valley;
Tarragona, Caraga, Lupon, Manay and Banaybanay in Davao Oriental.

Kibungan, Kapangan, Bakun and Kabayan, Benguet; Tinglayan, Tanudan and
Pasil, Kalinga; Tinoc and Asipulo, Ifugao; Ajuy and Lemery, Iloilo;
Sibalom, Antique; Kalibo, Aklan; Nueva Valencia, Guimaras; Bacolod
City and Hinigaran, Negros Occidental; Malungon, Sarangani; Pikit,
Cotabato; San Miguel, Surigao del Sur; and La Paz, Agusan del Sur.
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MAP posted-by: Tom