UN drug report: Philippines has highest rate of shabu use in East Asia
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has the highest abuse rate for methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, in East Asia, according to the latest United Nations World Drug Report.
The UN report was cited by the US Department of State in its 2012 International Drug Control Strategy Report, which is posted on the website of the US Embassy in Manila.
The state department also disclosed that 2.1 percent of Filipinos aged 16 to 64 were using shabu, and “domestic consumption of methamphetamine and marijuana continued to be the main drug threats in the Philippines.”
Citing Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency records, it reported that last year PDEA “conducted 9,850 anti-illegal drug operations resulting in the arrest of 8,491 suspects and 9,995 cases being filed.”
Philippine authorities “seized 250 kilos of methamphetamine valued at $68 million (about P2.92 billion); 4.8 million marijuana plants and seedlings and 818 kilos of marijuana with a total value of $17.4 million (P748 million); 17,222 grams of cocaine worth $2 million (P86 million); and 960 Ecstasy tablets valued at $26,790 (P1.15 million).”
According to the state department, “ethnic Chinese organized crime groups continue to be the primary organizers and financiers of methamphetamine trafficking in the Philippines.”
“Law enforcement agencies, however, noted the new trend of African-produced methamphetamine being smuggled into the Philippines through the airports for onward distribution throughout Southeast Asia. PDEA and the National Bureau of Investigation conducted investigations that led to the arrest of several members of African drug trafficking organizations in Malaysia,” it said.
The authorities also have “made large seizures of bulk high-grade methamphetamine that appeared to have been produced outside the Philippines and smuggled in via cargo shipments. This supports law enforcers’ findings of the continuing decline in industrial-size methamphetamine laboratories in the Philippines itself due to improved detection and law enforcement efforts. PDEA also seized six smaller kitchen-type clandestine methamphetamine laboratories.”
On the other hand, marijuana cultivation in the country “occurs in remote mountainous regions of Luzon and Mindanao.”
“The government conducted 97 manual eradication missions to suppress this cultivation throughout the year,” the agency said.
It also reported that in 2011, “the issue of Philippine citizens being used as drug couriers by transnational drug trafficking organizations gained national attention when (four) Filipinos were executed in China for drug trafficking.”
“Philippine citizens have also been arrested in other countries while attempting to smuggle cocaine from South America into Asia, as well as methamphetamine within Southeast Asia,” it said.
In the report, the Department of State cited the Aquino administration for its “special effort to increase cooperation among Philippine agencies involved in drug enforcement.”
“This cooperation resulted in a 45-percent increase in counter-drug operations,” it said.
It also said that Manila “continued to face the daunting task of tackling transnational drug trafficking organizations without strong legal tools, such as a provision for the judicially authorized interception of criminal communications, plea bargaining and an efficient drug asset forfeiture process.”
“Without these important tools, law enforcers’ ability to gather evidence against high-level drug traffickers remains limited,” it said.