No fentanyl abuse, arrest yet in PH, according to PDEA
MANILA, Philippines — No reports of abuse or arrest in the Philippines were made in connection with the addictive painkiller fentanyl, local authorities reported to the Senate on Wednesday.
At a hearing on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) proposed budget for 2024, Senator Francis Tolentino asked about the alleged use and abuse of fentanyl not only in Metro Manila but also in other regions.
“As far as fentanyl usage in the Philippines is concerned, and as far as seizures are concerned, negative,” PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazo said.
“We have no seizures as of now. No, none,’’ he stressed.
The PDEA chief, though, recalled warning about the possible entry of the said drug into the country during their agency’s anniversary last July.
“The reason why we became very aware of the fentanyl entering the country is that it’s the number one problem in the US now. It’s causing a lot of deaths in the US,” Lazo said.
Even the United States warned the Philippines about it, he said, citing their recent meeting with a representative from the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
“And that’s the reason why we started talking with our foreign counterparts to help us out in monitoring the possibility (of fentanyl entering the local market),” Lazo said.
Dangerous Drug Board chairman Catalino Uy corroborated Lazo’s report to the committee.
In fact, he said, there is now a shortage of fentanyl worldwide because of high demand in the US.
“Instead na e-export nila, internal, domestic consumption na lang ang nangyayari. And we should be really on a look out, and on guard for possible entry of fentanyl here…” Uy said.
Former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa then urged authorities to prepare for the possible entry of fentanyl into the local market, noting the country’s close ties with the US.
“So kung sikat yang fentanyl ngayon sa Amerika, we expect really na pupunta yan dito sa atin,” said Dela Rosa, who was presiding over the hearing.
(So, if fentanyl is popular in America now, we expect that it will eventually come here.)
“So it’s good na wala pa tayong namonitor na usage ng fentanyl dito although baka hindi lang namonitor na pero meron pero hindi pa ganun kaalala. Pero dapat prepared tayo sir ha pagdating nyan dito kasi I’m 100 percent sure kung uso yan sa Amerika, magiging uso talaga yan dito,” the senator added.
(So it’s good that we haven’t monitored the usage of fentanyl here yet. Although it may be already here, the situation is not worse yet. But we should be prepared because I’m 100 percent sure that if it’s a trend in America, it will become a trend here.)