TABUK CITY: The Philippine Air Force (PAF) joined the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in eradicating patches of vast marijuana plantations in Tinglaya, Kalinga province.
The PAF discovered additional plantation sites in Mount Bitulayungan resulting to the dismantling of more than P155 million worth of fully-grown marijuana plants since Tuesday.
Cordillera Regional PDEA Director Ronald Allan Ricardo said they have uprooted at least 720,000 marijuana plants.
“Our operation has barely started and we are looking at a conservative estimate of no less than 15 hectares maintained by still unidentified cultivators in the area,” Ricardo added.
He said military and police members continue to mop out the area. However, they have yet to arrest the suspects behind the cultivation of marijuana in Kalinga.
“We are also looking at road networks the cultivators are utilizing in the transportation of these illegal plants because as far as our records show, this illegal drug has reached Metro Manila and major cities in the country,” Ricardo said.
Meanwhile, Sr. Supt. Froilan Perez, Kalinga police director, revealed that the discovery of these marijuana plantations was a result of an Aerial Marijuana Eradication Survey when the police operatives’ helicopter crashed into Mount Bitulayungan because of strong winds and heavy loads.
Supt. Oliver Emmodias, Chief Insp. Dexter Vitug, and PO3 Jude Edwin Duque sustained minor injuries in the accident.
Leander C. Domingo