CEBU CITY – The Philippines is no longer just a conduit for the transport of illegal drugs but has become its final destination, according to the National Bureau of investigation. And the authorities as well as some members of Cebu City’s high society are alarmed by this development.
“We are no longer just a transhipment area, but have become a drop off point based on the alarming increase of supply of illegal drugs particularly in Central Visayas,” said Virgilio Mendez, NBI deputy director for regional services.
Mendez said the abundant supply of illegal drugs particularly in Cebu was “very alarming because of its direct effect on crimes.”
He said that foreign nationals who used to serve as drug mules or transporters were also now engaged in the drug retail business.
“They are directly competing with local pushers, and, due to oversupply, prices of illegal drugs, particularly shabu, have tremendously deacreased,” Mendez said.
Privately, members of the city’s high society have also expressed alarm over the reported “abundant supply.”
“We are really scared by the effect of the easy availability of these illegal drugs,” one such person told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “Our biggest fear is for the illegal drugs trade to reach the countryside faster than we thought.”
Mendez said the drug problem in the country was also due to lax at provincial airports and seaports.
“Due to the oversupply, prices have gone down and [drugs} are now readily available,” Mendez said.
Mendez made the comments about the proliferation of drugs in Cebu after the arrest of a Nigerian national in a buy-bust operation at his apartment in Mandaue City in which P3.5 million worth of shabu was seized by Cebu-NBI agents.
NBI-Central Visayas Regional Director Antonio Pagatpat said that due to the abundant supply, foreign nationals like James Cunta Okwudili now compete with local retailers.
“Foreign nationals have become so arrogant that they are now direct competitors of local retailers and openly sell the illegal drugs,” Pagatpat said.
Pagatpat said that the Nigerian even required buyers to bring their own weighing scale.
“He told our undercover agent to bring a weighing scale when they meet for the buy,” Pagatpat said.
“What is alarming also is that when we raided the house, we did not see any sign that the drugs were manufactured there; no cooking materials were found, what we just found were the finished product,” he said.