Action urged vs drug use in Zamboanga Sur town
PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines – Vice Mayor Ukol Talumpa of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur asked authorities to do something about the drug problem in his town.
Talumpa issued the appeal during last week’s drug summit here by saying that the problem has become quite serious and drug deals have “become so ordinary in my town.”
He said the local police have not been doing anything about the problem, which made officials like him helpless.
Labangan is a fourth-class municipality in Zamboanga del Sur and has an estimated population of 34,530 based on the 2000 census.
Talumpa said drug lords operate without fear despite the fact that the headquarters of the military’s 1st Infantry Division is located in the town.
Talumpa complained that arrested pushers or suppliers could get out of jail even if there was evidence against them.
“Dangerous drugs will never proliferate if there’s no one in high position responsible and protecting the pushers,” Talumpa said.
Chief Superintendent Adzar Albani, regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Western Mindanao, admitted that “we know who these people are” but refused to identify the alleged drug lords.
“All we need is strong evidence and we will not discriminate whoever they are,” he said.
Albani denied they have not done anything about the drug problem in Labangan.
The number of arrests they made since 2002 could prove that PDEA was not sleeping on the job, he said, adding that the problem was that many of these cases had been dismissed by the courts on grounds of technicality.
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