Bato: Shorelines part of drug smuggling routes
SAN FERNANDO CITY—Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police, on Thursday ordered police to keep an eye on the Ilocos region’s shorelines, saying crime lords may use the beaches as possible entry points for illegal drugs.
During a meeting here, Dela Rosa said a “shabu” laboratory in the Ilocos region had been dismantled and the supply routes of illegal drugs through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) had been disrupted.
In August, a shipment of shabu believed worth P6.2 billion passed through the BOC and had since been the subject of investigations.
“So what will be the drug lords’ next strategy? They will drop their products in the high seas, and equipped with a GPS (global positioning system), will collect these in the shorelines of Ilocos region and Cagayan Valley,” he said.
Last year, Jeofrey Tacio, Ilocos region director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said the government’s war on drugs had disrupted the drug traffickers’ traditional shipping route from Metro Manila to the provinces.
Tacio said illegal drugs were now being smuggled into the country through the West Philippine Sea.
“As you all know, our coastline is very long, so there’s a risk for this to be exploited for smuggling,” he said.
The Ilocos region’s coastline, which stretches from Ilocos Norte in the north to Pangasinan in the south, is at least 708 kilometers long.—GABRIEL CARDINOZA