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Exec says Batangas seaport is entry point of illegal drugs

/ 05:18 AM April 24, 2019

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines — The international seaport of Batangas City has become an entry point of illegal drug shipments in the province, Gov. Hermilando Mandanas has confirmed.

“What the President said was true,” Mandanas said when asked to comment on President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement during the campaign rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan in Batangas City.

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In his speech on April 17, the President said he saw “red flags” in Batangas and Lucena City in Quezon province “on the map of drug scene.”

The President, however, did not provide details of the drug problem in these two areas in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region.

General terms

To Mandanas, Batangas’ proximity to Metro Manila and the presence of an international port were factors as to how the province became a transit point of illegal drugs.

“The port of Batangas has almost thrice as much passenger ships (docking) in the Port of Manila. Calabarzon is bigger in (terms of residential and working) population than Metro Manila,” he added.

“Please do not be offended, tutal para sa bayan man ‘to at wala ho akong tinutukoy na tao dito (since this is for the country and I am not naming anyone). I talk on general terms,” Mr. Duterte said.

He did not specify any municipality where the drug problem was prevalent, but the government’s list of suspected narcopoliticians had earlier tagged four mayors in Batangas.

Drug hauls

On Monday, Adrian Alvariño, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional chief, said the President might have drawn up his conclusion based on previous antidrug operations in Batangas.

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In April 2018, the PDEA arrested four Chinese during a raid on a suspected drug laboratory at a poultry farm in Ibaan town.

Subsequent operations resulted in the arrest of another Chinese chemist in Lipa City.

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TAGS: Hermilando Mandana, illegal drug trafficking, war on drugs
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