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PDEA: Leadership change boosts agency’s coordination with BOC

/ 03:47 PM March 27, 2019
PDEA: Leadership change boosts agency's coordination with BOC

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero sign a memorandum of agreement to fight illegal drugs on January 31, 2019, at PDEA office. INQUIRER.net file photo / Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — The coordination between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in terms of intercepting illegal drug packages is more solid and faster now, the spokesperson of the country’s anti-illegal drug agency said on Wednesday.

“Well partly, perhaps, dahil in terms of knowing each other, direct upperclass po kasi ni Director General Aaron Aquino si Commissioner (Rey) Guerrero,”  PDEA spokesperson Director Derrick Carreon said when asked whether the quicker response between the two agencies can be attributed to the leadership change in BOC.

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Both Aquino and Guerrero — the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines — graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).  Aquino was part of the Sangdiwa Class of 1985 while Guerrero came from the Maharlika class of 1984.

Carreon said that this was evident in a recent operation where BOC was able to intercept a shipment from China containing shabu worth P1.8 billion within just hours of receiving reports from PDEA.

“‘Yong pong recovery natin no’ng Friday sa Manila International Container Port is so far the fastest coordination done with the Bureau of Customs because upon receiving the intelligence and transmitting it at 2 a.m., Friday morning, kaagad-agad po nating naka-usap ang ating counterpart,” he explained.

“And by after lunch somewhere around 3 p.m. of that same day, na-identify at nabuksan ‘yong container van at na-isolate po natin doon.  Out of the 46 sacks, na-isolate ‘yong 12 through x-ray na […] containing illegal drugs,” he added.

READ: Info from Vietnam leads to P1.8-B ‘shabu’ seizure

Guerrero replaced former Commissioner Isidro Lapeña in October 2018.  Lapeña, himself a PMA graduate from the Maagap Class of 1973, was then appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

READ: Lapeña out of Customs but named Tesda chief with Cabinet rank

Lapeña’s stint at BOC was marred with several issues, including the controversial shabu hidden inside magnetic lifters that slipped through the authorities’ watch.  According to PDEA, the total amount may be more than a ton of shabu worth around P6.8 to P11 billion.

READ: 1 ton of shabu worth P6.8B eludes PDEA, PNP / Lapeña not convinced smuggled ‘shabu’ costs P11B

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Meanwhile, Carreon urged the people to move on and allow the government to rid the streets of drugs, leaving the issue on the magnetic lifters for the courts to decide.

“But then again, let’s put all those cases behind us now, naimbistigahan naman na ‘yong sa magnetic lifters, may mga nakasuhan na po kaugnay no’n,” Carreon pointed out.

“Right now sir this is all about moving forward, with better coordination to show the Filipino people that we are really serious dahil may problema nga po tayo regarding sa pagpasok ng bulk supply ng droga, kumbaga we have a long way to go,” he added. /jpv

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TAGS: BOC, Customs, Local news, PDEA, Philippine news update, war on drugs
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