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T’boli folk in South Cotabato plant marijuana for livelihood

/ 10:57 PM November 03, 2013

GENERAL SANTOS CITY—T’boli natives in a remote area of T’boli town, South Cotabato, have turned to cultivating marijuana to raise cash and feed their families, a tribal leader said.

T’boli Mayor Dibu Tuan said he had asked residents of Sitio Cabuyog in Barangay (village) Tudok why a marijuana plantation remained hidden in the village until he and government forces discovered it sometime in August.

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At least 500 hills of fully grown marijuana were found in a neatly cultivated farm in Cabuyog, according to a report of T’boli police led by Supt. Jemuel Siason.

Tuan said he was shocked by the report.

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“They were persuaded to plant marijuana due to poverty and the lack of accessibility to the area,” the mayor said, recalling what the residents told him.

For most of them, Tuan said, the government did not exist because they never felt its presence.

What further convinced the natives to grow marijuana was the presence of a financier, who might have promised to buy all the village produce, he said.

Police were gathering more information on the alleged financier.

Siason said residents of at least four other villages in T’boli were growing marijuana plants. He said it was difficult to detect the presence of the plants because these were among legitimate crops.

“The tribal residents intercrop marijuana and corn,” Siason said.

“We will try our best to build a road going to the area and provide livelihood to hinterland residents to convince them to stop planting marijuana,” Tuan said. Aquiles Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao

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