PNP forms permanent unit vs illegal drugs
A permanent anti-illegal drugs unit of the Philippine National Police has been officially formed as part of the police’s efforts to curb the proliferation of illegal drug activities in the country.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento led the inauguration of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group in a ceremony at the headquarters in Camp Crame on Wednesday.
Formerly the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF), the newest addition to the PNP’s national support units will allow the police to put more resources in operations against illegal drugs.
“Since we are dealing with the huge problem of illegal drugs, we cannot relegate the function of addressing this issue to a mere task force or a temporary unit within the police organization which could be disbanded any time,” Sarmiento said.
The secretary stressed the need for the creation of AIDG as the drug problem in the Philippines had evolved to being a “sachet economy” with regular drug users having easy access to illegal drugs contained in small sachets and cheaper packages.
“Pigilan natin ang problema sa droga na binebentang parang candy sa lipunan. Magkaisa tayo laban dito,” he said.
It took the PNP almost eight years to create a permanent anti-illegal drugs unit. PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said efforts to organize AIDG began in 2008.
On Oct. 30, the National Police Commission approved the creation of the AIDG as a national operational support unit of the PNP.
Marquez’s first marching order to AIDG is to deploy more personnel on the ground and thwart illegal drug transactions in the barangay or village level.
The AIDG would be headed by its officer in charge Senior Supt. Antonio Gardiola, who formally took office in the same ceremony.
Citing statistics from the Dangerous Drugs Board, Sarmiento said two percent of the population or an estimated 1.7 million Filipinos were drug users.
Chiu drug group
While the AIDG was being launched in Camp Crame, operatives of the new PNP unit immediately got down to business and dismantled a drug storage facility in Las Piñas City and confiscated 13 kilograms of ephedrine and “shabu” (metamphetamine hydrochloride) worth P20 million.
According to AIDG spokesperson Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia Jr., the operation was follow-up to a buy-bust last weekend in the cities of Taguig and Parañaque when the leader and the members of a Chinese drug syndicate were arrested.
Last Saturday, Chiu Jan Jiun was caught selling to a poseur buyer 2 kilograms of shabu along Diokno Avenue near SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. Another 8 kg of shabu were found inside his car.
On the same day, a member of Chiu’s drug group identified as Reyniel Macahidhid was arrested during a drug transaction with an undercover agent. At least 10 kg of shabu were confiscated from Macahidhid.